Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kate Atkinson in the house

My review of Kate Atkinson's When Will There Be Good News? is in the new Time Out New York, as well as a preview of a metal extravangaza featuring Keep of Kalessin and Eluveitie, among others.

Eluveitie was the highlight of PaganFest a few months ago and a must-see live. It's pretty exciting that after over two decades and hundreds of gigs, a band can still come out of nowhere and make my jaw drop. I distinctly remember watching Eluveitie at BB King's and thinking "And I thought I'd seen it all…" Clearly not.

Atkinson's latest is one of my favorite books of the past few years. Too often I finish genre novels because something about the plot compels me to see how they end. It's a purely mechanical reflex and not much pleasure is derided from it. But Atkinson writes well, which has become so rare that it's almost miraculous.

Thank god for metal and books, which are distracting me from the American presidential campaign. Every time I think it can't get any crazier, it just does. Crazier, and more offensive, too: Just how fricking stupid does McCain think Americans are? The answer, my friends, is that he's absolutely right to bank on this country's stupidity. That there's still a large number of undecided people at this stage is just one more sad joke among others.

Which reminds me… A few days ago I got embroiled in a particularly insane conversation with a rep from my health insurance. We got stuck in a circular argument and there was no getting out of it because her logic made no sense. At a loss, I said, "But this is completely Kafkaesque!" She didn't know what it meant. Yet if there's one word American health-insurance reps need to know, it's Kafkaesque.

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