Geoffrey Fox

Reflections & Inquiries

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 »

Of limited tolerance


Oeuvres Complètes de Voltaire, Vol. 2: Romans by Voltaire My rating: 1 of 5 stars I’ve been reading Romans de Voltaire – présenté par Roger Peyrefitte (Gallimard, 1961 — Zadig, Le Monde, comme il va, Micromégas, Le Blanc et le Noir, Candide, L’Ingénu, L’homme aux quarante écus, La Princesse de Babylone, Le Taureau blanc) because … read more »

Impermanence, solutions and ephemeral cities

2020.08.30 - Tags:

I wrote these notes four years ago, but — for some reason I don’t remember — never published them. Still relevant, I think. This year’s Biennale di Architettura, Venice [2016], invited architects from all parts of the world to confront the great social tensions of our day — leaving it to the invitees to define … read more »