Geoffrey Fox

Reflections & Inquiries

Desperate refugees


Transit by Anna Seghers My rating: 4 of 5 stars “But now, in the midst of this earthquake, the yowling of the air-raid sirens, amidst the wailing of the fleeing hordes, I longed for an ordinary like like a hungry man does for bread and water. In any case, Marie would find peace with me. … read more »

Which way is Left? – Thinking otherwise


Penser autrement by Alain Touraine My rating: 5 of 5 stars [This older review, first posted on my blog “Literature and Society” on 2007/11/27, still seems relevant for understanding our world today.] In previous notes, I’ve discussed the ideas of Ulrich Beck (Power in the Global Age, 9/30) and, last Friday, Vidal-Beneyto (“The Spanish Exception“). … read more »

Eventful life, in brilliant snapshots


A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin My rating: 4 of 5 stars 43 stories, most very short, almost all from the narrative p.o.v. of someone very much like Lucia Berlin, whose varied life in many different service occupations gave her abundant material. All these stories are beautifully crafted, the characters closely and sensitively … read more »

Lightning-bolt clever—a socialist dream exploded


Rosa Luxemburg by John Peter Nettl My rating: 5 of 5 stars In this thoroughly documented and engaging study, Peter Nettl uses the life of Rosa Luxemburg to explain the rapid growth and ultimate failure of the Marxist revolutionaries to make a reality of their dream of an egalitarian, truly democratic society. Thus this book … read more »

A pavilion of not-to-be forgotten characters


The Pavilion of Forgotten Concubines by Pim Wiersinga My rating: 4 of 5 stars In this multi-layered linguistic and literary adventure story, the characters of China’s most famous 18th century novel, Dream of the Red Chamber, intervene in the lives of the historical and invented characters brought to life by Pim Wiersinga in the latter … read more »