Showing posts from November, 2012

Walking with a mask on, believing it's your face

The novel was a combination of fictional and true accounts which are loosely based on “the history of psychology and the real-life experiences of British army officers being treated for shell shock during World War I at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh (The War Poets at Craiglockhart)”. It consisted of four parts centered mostly on three characters (Rivers, Sassoon and Prior) but also delved on mental struggles of other discharged soldiers suffering from their experiences while in the battlefied; and how individuals cope and move on from these burdens.

The protagonist Siegfried Sassoon declares that the war the British are fighting for is no longer a justifiable course of action, and he laments that they no longer have a true cause that empowers them through their service as soldiers. This he used as inspiration and form of catharis in the various poetry he writes. He was dispatched to a mental ward in the care of the psychoanalyst W.H.R Rivers who was a recognized doctor in hi…

Down, down the rabbit hole..

I should state from here on out that I intensely identify with Lewis Caroll's Alice and that I've considered her as a fictional counterpart, most especially Alan Moore's re-imagining of this character in Lost Girls. Last year, while working late night at our student publication's office, I came across a manual for artists which belong to the art section, and it listed Bryan Talbot's Alice in Sunderland as one of the references. I was immediately intrigued because it was an Alice-based graphic novel, and I knew Talbot from his illustrations in The Sandman volume 6. I was able to download a .cbr copy and I only scanned through the pages and realized that it was not a linear narrative structure but more of a historical thesis in sequential art form.

It was only in the Manila International Book Fair that September when I was happy to see a singular hardbound copy of this book. I took it home and began to read. Alice in Sunderland is a challenging visual experience; it&…

Going, going, going, gone

I knew little of Michael Cunningham’s work (I just knew that he wrote The Hours which was an Academy Award-winning film my parents loved) so I had no fixed expectations. I gave myself four days to finish this book but managed to do so in three days. That’s how captivating it was. Cunningham’s experimental fiction was masterfully told, like a musical composition that rises and falls with the right notes. In Specimen Days, he writes in three genres, dividing the book into three breathtaking novellas.


"A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child?… .I do not know what it is any more than he.” ~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

(1) “In The Machine” A Historical Dickensian Tale

The first novella was written in the boy Lucas’ POV. It was set sometime during the industrialization age of America. Lucas’ brother Simon has just died and this left his fiancee Catherine uncared for and with child. Though aready shouldering the financial burde…

Unlikely heroine defying gravity

This was a marvelously entertaining book and I certainly appreciated the re-imaginings of Maguire about Oz, its inhabitants and principal characters. I enjoyed the social strife among the citizens of Oz, that crisp political atmosphere that enticed me for pages and pages—yet I wasn’t really as invested as I hoped I would be when this book was recommended to me two years ago. I knew about the musical, sure, and I love that, but my enjoyment of this novel was not attached to that anyway so I mean it objectively when I say that I was not satisfied at all when I finished. It’s definitely a mix of good and bad parts.

This is in no way to say that Wicked is not as amazing as people say it is; I find it charming and philosophical in such a quirky sense that kept me reading. And I will keep reading the next two books as well because I wanted to see how Maguire managed to develop the plot from here on. Truth for the matter, my slight (and very slight) disappointment was more on the fact that …