Posts Tagged ‘Susan Troccolo’

“An elegant homage”: weekend praise from Amherst for “Evolution of Desire” – and a few other books, too

Saturday, October 19th, 2019
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It’s been a full year-and-a-half since Evolution of Desire: A Life of René Girard was published. And I’m chuffed it’s still getting reviews and attention.

The latest is from the weekend “Friday Reads” section of The Commona tony journal put out by Amherst College. According to its website: “The Common is an award-winning print and digital literary journal published biannually, in the fall and spring. Issues of The Common include short stories, essays, poems, and images that embody a strong sense of place.”

I’m honored that Evolution of Desire is the lead item. The review (they’re all designed to be brief) is by Susan Troccolo, a non-fiction contributor to the journal.

It begins:

“Cynthia L. Haven’s book, Evolution of Desire: A Life of René Girard is a compelling study of her mentor’s life’s work and an elegant homage to a man whose extraordinary intellectual force and drive for understanding necessarily probed Psychology, Philosophy, Theology, and Anthropology.”

It ends: “Evolution of Desire is a memorably written biography of a distinguished thinker for our time.”

You can read what’s in the middle here.

But there are four other books to consider. Here’s Loves You: Poems by Sarah Gambito, recommended by poetry contributor Chloe Martinez:

“’Invite at least 15 people. It’s okay if your apartment is small.’ These are some of the instructions Sarah Gambito gives the reader at the start of Loves You, a collection of poems that are also recipes, that are also love songs, that are also prayers, and that are often centos, “patchwork poems” made up entirely of quotations. It’s okay to include all this, Gambito tells us, it’s okay to use everything around you in poems …”

A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa, in which fiction contributor Katherine Vaz discusses a novel that was short-listed for the Man Booker and won the International Dublin Literary Award in 2017:

“Based on the true story of a woman who stayed closed-off in her apartment in Luanda during the struggle for independence, it’s an uncanny mix of true-magic and suspense and the onslaught of history. The plot is clear and strong. The language, the story itself—breathtaking. The confines of Ludo’s apartment end up containing the universe, in the way that the lines of a sonnet contain, due to the restriction of form, an explosion of richness.”

Read the full text for all four here. I’ll give you a hint on the last two:  The Farm by Joanne Ramos and recommended by Danielle Batalion Ola (nonfiction contributor); and Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors and recommended by Katherine Hill (fiction contributor).