Wagner, the repulsive giant
If, on one hand, you ever wanted to know what a swine Richard Wagner was, this is the book to tell you
. It does so at length, in reliable detail, calmly, without prurience, perfectly backed with documentation, and in a translation whose only fault is in giving no Translator’s Notes for in-house German references. Joachim Köhler sustains his story with new ideas, revises other interpretations and modestly deconstructs Cosima née Liszt’s creation of “Richard Wagner Enterprises Inc”. (This she developed so far as to keep Parsifal exclusive to Bayreuth, prompting George Bernard Shaw to remark in 1889 that it “would almost reconcile me to the custom of suttee
posted by matteo
on Sep 3, 2005 -
"Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear."
He is one
's great novelists
, but you don't expect Philip Roth
to be barreling up the best-seller list with a book that hasn't even been published yet
. And yet "The Plot Against America
" is in the top 3 at amazon.com
It spins a what-if scenario
in which the isolationist and anti-Semitic hero Charles Lindbergh
runs for president as a Republican in 1940 and defeats F.D.R.
"Keep America Out of the Jewish War", reads a button worn by Lindbergh supporters rallying at Madison Square Garden. And so he does: he signs nonaggression pacts
with Germany and Japan that will keep America at peace while the rest of the world burns. The Lindbergh administration hatches a nice plan to prod assimilation of the Jews. Innocuously called Just Folks, it's a relocation program for urban Jews, administered by an Office of American Absorption fronted by an obliging and pompous rabbi of radio celebrity. The teenage Roth character is shipped off to a Kentucky tobacco farm, to finally live among Christians.
is about American Fascism
, but while Roth is no fan of President Bush ("a man unfit to run a hardware store let alone a nation like this one"), he points out that he conceived this book (LATimes registration: sparklebottom/sparklebottom)
in December 2000, and that it would be "a mistake" to read it "as a roman à clef to the present moment in America." (more inside)
posted by matteo
on Sep 28, 2004 -