This Month's Articles
Fight For Your Long Day
By Alex Kudera
Reviewed by Joseph A. Domino
The Scholar/Pauper Fights the Good Fight
While Alex Kudera’s novel, Fight for Your Long Day, highlights the grave socio-economic injustices of a corrupt academic system, it is much more than a preachy manifesto. Cyrus Duffelman’s struggles are that of any of the economically repressed. But when college professors earn Walmart wages, it highlights a shocking disconnect between the hollow political rhetoric of the importance of education, and the true reality. Cyrus inhabits a world of increasing impoverishment. This is the landscape of essayist and cultural critic Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed. This is the time perhaps when we should be re-reading Steinbeck and Orwell.
It would be a cliché to call him a modern day Everyman. Cyrus is a real person with frailties and insecurities, yet with conviction and seriousness about what he does. His long day is his total reality. The past has not served him, so what can the future hold? He does represent a growing class of academic paupers in particular and the growing dominance of menial wages everywhere in America in general, whether the work is menial or not.
And, yet, it’s not little enough. Menial wages, that is. Another sad irony is that the adjunct is no lifetime indentured servant, but rather an endangered species as institutions of higher learning contemplate “satellite hookups and TVs in every classroom…with the finest Indian universities teaching virtual classes long-distance…The fifteen grand a year they were paying the graduate student [or adjunct] has become fifteen hundred for a hungrier South Asian.”
Cyrus is doubly invisible. No one “sees” him—just as .....Read More
Waiting to Understand Godot
An Essay by Steven Paul Leiva
I met Samuel Beckett before I met Godot.
It was 1979 and I was in London with the famed Looney Tunes animation director Chuck Jones, handling his publicity for his “season” at the National Film Theater. We were staying at the Hyde Park Hotel in Knightsbridge, a classic British hotel of a bygone era, originally built in 1889 as an exclusive “Gentleman’s Club” that had seen the comings and goings of royalty and the elite in politics, commerce, and art.
I was young, more than naive, and thrilled to be there, as I was a budding cultural snob and there is no place better to be a cultural snob than in London. Chuck and I had just come back from a radio interview when the major domo of the hotel, Peter Crome, proudly announced to us that “Mr. Samuel Beckett” was staying at the hotel. I was excited.
As a former high school drama student from a nondescript California suburb, I knew that Samuel Beckettt was very famous as a world class playwright and the author of Waiting for Godot, a play I was convinced was a great play only because I had been told it was a great play, not having actually read .....Read More
How Important is The Neworld Review to You?
Once again, I would like thank those of you who have donated money to support our efforts.
However, said to say we are a long way from our goal as shown by the chart below. Please remember, that our survival depends on our readers so we need your help in either donations or by buying products via out site with the people we advertise with. So please help us out if you are able. In that way we can continue to bring you the content by our fine writers.
Mark Twain and the Colonel: Samuel L. Clemens, Theodore Roosevelt and the Arrival of a New Century
By Philip McFarland
Reviewed by Fred Beauford
This was a sometimes difficult book for me to firmly get a grip on, mainly because something deep inside of me felt the pairing of Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) and Theodore Roosevelt in a book was odd, indeed.
Roosevelt, although considered by historians as one of America’s greatest presidents, for most of his life was a bombastic, bellicose war mongering imperialist. This was somewhat tempered by his progressive stand as President to protect wilderness areas, and curb the power of large corporations (called "trusts"). He also passed laws such as The Meat Inspection Act in 1906 and The Pure Food and Drug Act. The Meat Inspection Act of 1906 banned misleading labels and preservatives that contained harmful chemicals. The Pure Food and Drug Act banned food and drugs that were impure or falsely labeled from being made, sold, and shipped.
Still, he was someone who killed hundreds of animals for sport, where Clemens was appalled that anyone would kill just for killing’s sake, and not for the meat. Roosevelt .....Read More
Portfolio: Sharon Johnson-Tennant
by Kara Fox
Beneath the beautiful umbrella of art, the expression of human creative skill and imagination, lies photography…and within the realm of photography we find this month's portfolio… a body of work best described as masterpieces.
"I look, I see, I feel," explains Sharon Johnson-Tennant. Her photography is unique to her as the creator and she has her own personal way of seeing things. It is the story behind the images that compels her. And, it is just a small part of her extraordinary story we present to you this month.
With her BFA from Skidmore College, Sharon began graduate studies at NYU where she learned about Color Theory and the Science of Color. Her first experience with photography came after college. She started to travel the globe and a boyfriend gifted her with a camera. From the beginning she had her own look. When friends .....Read More
What article is the most requested overall?
Amiri Baraka: The Last Beat Standing, a Profile by Herb Boyd, Vol .2, No. 5
Which is the most popular issue overall?
Vol 3, No. 9, Malcolm Gladwell, our cover subject.
The Convert—a Tale of Exile and Extremism
By Deborah Baker
Reviewed by Jane M McCabe
I like stories told in a straight forward chronological fashion—sometimes I feel that authors and screenplay writers are being unnecessarily coy when they mess with a direct story line. Then there are stories that are told like the peeling of the layers of an onion—each new layer adds another layer of depth to our understanding.
Such is Deborah Baker’s The Convert, which is the true story of an American Jew, Margaret Marcus, born in 1939, a woman who because of her disaffection with life in the United States, converts to Islam, and moves to Pakistan at the invitation of a Muslim mentor, Mualana Sayyid Abul Ala Maudoodi, the leader of a fundamentalist political movement. Jamaat-e-Islami Mawdudi (alternate spelling) had read Margaret’s writings and felt they were in agreement with his own ideas, so he invites her to live with him and his family in Lahore and undertakes to become her guardian.
The story of Maryam Jameelah, as she was renamed, gives credence to the saying that the truth is often stranger than fiction. Its strangeness delighted me—in the battle between East and West, the lines are drawn. To strict Muslims in the East the West is corrupted by its decadence—its secularized society is godless—women’s liberation, gay rights, philosophy, and technology have only served to draw people from living upright lives as sanctioned in the Qur’an. To Westerners Muslims are.....Read More
By Gillian Flynn
Reviewed by Sally Cobau
Recently I read a writing handbook in which the author gave one edict: DO NOT BORE THE READER. It sounds so simple, but as any writer knows it can be oh-so-hard. Overly precious writing can be boring as can a voice that seems labored, and of course we all know that long descriptions can be downright deadly. I thought about this advice as I read Gone Girl, a psychological thriller by gifted writer, Gillian Flynn.
The plot of Gone Girl is fairly simple: Amy, a psychopath (really, she is) goes missing and all the blame (after the shortest of pauses) is placed on her husband Nick. Gillian plays with our sick curiosity here, and our voracious appetite for gore. And why do we find it titillating that those closest to home can do us the most harm? Amy’s gloriously good parents get involved, as does Nick’s subversive (at least this is hinted at) twin sister, Go. The book is a winding trail of “deceit” and “thrills.” And if this sounds like a cliché, well Gillian is playing with the mystery novel form here. And although I want to give away some of the cooler plot points, I won’t. It just wouldn’t be fair.
But I will say that there are so many twists and turns in Gone Girl that you feel as if your head is spinning (but in a thrilling, roller-coaster kind of way, where your hair gets wind-blown and you feel your stomach lurch). And there is also the deceit of the unreliable narrator in Gone Girl—actually there are two unreliable narrators.....Read More
The African Gentleman
…and The Plot to Re-establish The New World Order
A Novel by Fred Beauford
“Eric,” I said, feeling somewhat sorry for myself, “I sometimes feel as if I am living in someone else’s novel.”
He laughed a controlled, soft laugh with little surprise in his voice. Maybe Gladys had confided in him and recounted the conversation we first had at my place in The Village, and he knew I had clearly stolen the line from her.
Still, I was glad to see from the expression on his face, that he had thought it was just as clever as I once had.
“Try being an editor,” he answered, sounding somewhat downbeat for someone who is always so upbeat. “All the people I work with live the so-called, ‘life of the mind.’ I know many, many people, but I am perhaps the loneliest man in The City. Sometimes, I feel I would like to live the life of the flesh.”
I perked up; in the back of my mind, however, I hoped he wasn’t hitting on me, since he has already told me he was bi.
Still, the life of the flesh, as he so artfully put it, is not all that it is represented as being. You can meet some strange flesh if you keep at it. Although we Africans are not noted for being such, I am a classic high T type.
I know better than most, how things of the flesh can all at once become strange, and suddenly spin out of control.
Still, despite the sometimes overwhelming delights of warm flesh, as it may be, it is the mysterious world that Eric and Gladys inhabited which intrigued me most, and I wanted to know more. A thought quickly dawned on me, which I quickly dismissed: that perhaps Eric and I should trade places.
Once again, we were being typical Big City types, and he was as well dressed as ever, and I was as geeky as ever. I still don’t know what he.....Read More
By Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston
Read by Stefan Rudnicki and Cast
Reviewed by Michael Carey
Orson Scott Card continues his literary success with the first of a prequel trilogy to Ender’s Game in Earth Unaware. Ender’s Game, so I’ve been told, is a timeless classic, and Card does not disappoint in this introduction of the alien Formic race that brings about the need for Ender Wiggin.
In Earth Unaware, the reader is introduced to Victor Delgado, Lem Jukes, and Witt O’Toole. Victor is a member of El Cavador, a free mining ship stationed in the outer reaches of space. His younger cousin presents him with data that suggests there is a starship traveling at near light speed even further out in the universe. “But that’s impossible,” everyone thinks, but what’s worse, is that the anomaly is heading for our solar system, Earth in particular. Victor knows that the information must reach others no matter what the cost. As more about the aliens becomes known, El Cavador realizes how right Victor has been.
Lem is the son of the richest man in the universe and is always trying to prove himself to his father. He’s.....Read More
By Meredith Goldstein
Reviewed by Janet Garber
I still remember the thrill of darting across Old Route 17 in Masten Lake, NY, where my family spent a week every summer, and going into the little rundown store. I’d slide a magazine from the rack, fish the money out of my shorts pocket, and run back across 17 to my room, breathless. There, in the quiet of the afternoon, I had True Confessions all to myself. Talk about guilty pleasures! Every dark, garishly illustrated tale featured teens running away from home, teens hitching along deserted highways, abducted teens, teens somehow turning up pregnant, teens falling in love with their dark brutish hairy captors. Bobby Darin sang.....Read More