Although I watched the 1937 movie titled Black Legion because it was a vehicle for the early acting career of Humphrey Bogart, it very much reminded me of the shenanigans of modern-day white supremacists such as D. J. (Dishonest John) Drumph. If you get a chance, listen closely to the anti-foreigner diatribe and the blaming of the woes of all upright (white) Americans on someone else … often referred to as The Other.
Although the Black Legion was an offshoot of the more well-known hate-group, the Klu Klux Klan (KKK which is easier for the members to spell), the real message all Americans should be hearing in the movie or real-life screed is that these white supremacists are out to vilify and destroy anyone who is not like them. Depending on the period of history, this has included such groups as Italians, Poles, Irish, Jews, Muslims, Africans, homosexuals, gypsies, and anyone born South of the Border from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego.
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Everyone knows Fight Club. Probably more know the very successful movie than the fact that it was originally a story and then a novel by a then unsuccessful young writer, Chuck Palahniuk. Since Fight Club, Palahniuk has published a long list of works, most which can be best described as transgressional fiction. Here at ACOR we like transgressional fiction and have therefore read a great number of Palahniuk’s novels.
But how good is this author? How important is his work?
Chuck Palahniuk has been viciously criticized for writing the crudest juvenile gross-out novels, each new one attempting to outdo the sleaze and degradation of the earlier works. But if your forte is sleaze and degradation, isn’t it a positive sign that you are investigating more imaginative scenarios to shock and disgust your readers?
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I heard that you should have a general knowledge of Shakespeare’s Hamlet to fully enjoy and benefit from reading Ian McEwan’s novel, Nutshell. Let’s see: a brother and his brother’s wife conspire to kill the married brother and assume the marriage rites for themselves. But the wife is pregnant and her very well spoken unborn child (the narrator) is against the murder plot and has a lot of thoughts on the nature of existence even before the mother’s water breaks.
Sounds a lot like Hamlet? And how many other narratives involving a wife and her lover plotting the murder of the old, boring husband?
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I recall several stories for children where a short trip down a hidden alley led to a Alice door and a wonderland beyond. There was even a similar episode of The Avengers back in the ’60s. David Mitchell’s Slade House starts out with such magic possibilities. Several episodes where various people search for the entry to this enchanted house and garden lead to horrible results; but by now you’re hooked by Mitchell’s easy narrative style and read on.
Luckily Slade House is relatively short and an easy evening read but in the end the reader might feel ripped-off.
The occult explanations in this book are acceptable but somewhat cheesy and derivative. I read through to the end and decided Mitchell was trying to cash in on the inordinate popularity of Dan Brown, although Mitchell is a much better writer than Brown.
Slade House would make a good made-for-TV movie … or maybe an episode of Scooby-Do.