Geoffrey Fox

Reflections & Inquiries

The author haunts his tale of Palestine


Gate Of The Sun by Elias Khoury My rating: 5 of 5 stars “Umm Hassan is dead.” These are Dr. Khaleel Ayyoub’s first words to his only patient, the legendary hero of a dozen failed wars for Palestinian liberation, in Galilee Hospital in Shatila. But this isn’t a real hospital (scarcely any supplies or professional … read more »

Švejk as witness to barbarity


The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek My rating: 3 of 5 stars The garrulous Josef Švejk is Hašek’s device to observe and lampoon the disastrous, corrupt, horribly inefficient and pointlessly cruel army of the Austro-Hungarian empire in the Great War (1914-1918). Švejk’s affable placidity in even the most extreme circumstances makes him an uncritical … read more »

Jhumpa in altre parole


In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri My rating: 3 of 5 stars This is an engaging series of reflections for any of us who have striven in adulthood to master a new language. More than 20 years ago, Jhumpa Lahiri — whose first language (spoken to her in infancy by her mother) was Bengali and … read more »

Fake news, fake history, & fact-checking


With so much falsehood being spun and repeated, now more loudly and insistently than ever, it is a joy to find someone who analyzes scientifically, sorting information to find the most plausible and best documented interpretation. Our best journalists do this, and our most conscientious historians, but even they need to be fact-checked. For this I … read more »

In the Low Countries, 4: Postscript— Delft


(I wrote this shortly after our return from the Netherlands at the end of May, 2017) Last night we finally saw Peter Webber’s glorious film The Girl with the Pearl Earring (2003) — after reading Tracy Chevalier’s novel, which I reviewed in 2001, seeing the original painting in  Den Haag, and then visiting Delft, where … read more »