April 2005

Novels: Exploring the World of Imagination

Sticks and Stones War, statutory rape, child abuse and racism are hardly the stuff of comedy, but in Towelhead (Simon & Schuster, $22), Alicia Erian succeeds in blending this weird and sometimes shocking mix of elements into a funny, poignant and utterly readable first novel. (Her collection of short stories, The Brutal Language of Love, was published in 2001.)…

Exploring the World Through Travel Memoirs

Feeling Sheepish Hans Breuer, Austria’s last wandering shepherd, seems like a terrific character for a novel. He’s got comic potential: Picture this middle-aged man in a wide-brimmed hat, singing folksongs while he ushers his flock through Alpine villages past bemused locals. He’s got a serious side, too: In addition to being something of a relic by profession, Breuer is conspicuous as a Jew in a country that has yet to come to terms with its Nazi past….