Posts

Showing posts from August, 2018

Getting Out: The Dangerous Weirdness of Atlanta's Second Season

I wanted to write something about the first season of Atlanta, Donald Glover’s groundbreaking dramedy about a young black man trying to make it big by managing his cousin's rap career, but I couldn't figure out what. You know that feeling when something is brilliant, and rich, and clearly begging to be discussed, but you can't figure out your angle of entry? In particular, I wanted a conversation about the show's use of surreal and fantastical imagery. These ran the gamut from the numinous—Glover's Earn, at the end of a long day, being handed a Nutella sandwich by a stranger on the bus in the series’s premiere episode—to the sinister—Earn's girlfriend Van (Zazie Beets), having spent the day frantically trying to outsmart a mandatory drug screening and eventually maneuvering herself out of her job as a teacher, takes her final class, only to meet the level, mocking gaze of a student who has arrived in school in whiteface. Some were simply absurd, as in the split…

Meanwhile

Things have been a little quiet here at AtWQ, mainly because I spent half of August on vacation.  This doesn't mean I haven't been writing, though--I published several shorter, more conversational pieces at Lawyers, Guns and Money while I was traveling, and during the last week as I was reacclimating to normal life (including recovering from a minor, vacation-related injury).  For good order's sake, I thought I'd link to those posts here.

My trip included several days in London, where I watched several plays.  One of them, the musical Fun Home (based on the graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel) left me feeling rather overwhelmed, and contemplating the way that art affects us emotionally, sometimes against our will.  I wrote a bit about that and opened the floor to thoughts on what people look for in that respect.  (The other plays I saw were King Lear and Hamilton; I wrote a bit about my reaction to both in the comments.)

The second week of my trip was spent in the country, …

Recent Reading Roundup 47

Image
I'm sorry to report it, but I'm not having the best reading year in 2018.  I'm reading a lot, and enjoying quite a bit of what I'm reading, but when I look at my lists from the year's first half, very little stands out as something that I'll still be thinking of, much less selecting for a best-of list, at the year's end.  I'd like to say that this current bunch of books represents a turning point--and there are several books here that I did genuinely love and that I expect to linger in my mind--but for the most part they continue a trend.  Some interesting ideas, some good execution, but also a lot of problems.  Let's hope that I do better in the year's remaining months.

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar - Gowar's much-lauded historical novel is made up of fantastic pieces that don't really come together into much of a whole.  Even the novel's three segments feel more like linked novellas than chapters in a single st…