I’ve enjoyed the novels of Paul Kingsnorth. I subscribe to his Substack column, The Abbey of Misrule. This past week, I read “In the Desert of Real,” and I came away more unsettled than I’ve been for a long time. And better informed. It’s a longish post, but it is well worth the time to read it. We have reached a point, Kingsnorth writes, “at which our underlying cultural and spiritual brokenness is manifesting on the surface as politics – with explosive results.”
Monday, May 9, is the 360th birthday of the puppet Mr. Punch (as in Punch and Judy). The first recorded note of the puppet show was by Samuel Pepys on May 9, 1662. There’s a big celebration tomorrow at St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, in London. You can find the story at Spitalfields Life.
I’ve been reading Brisbane, the new novel by Eugene Vodolazkin, author of Laurus and The Aviator, among several others. It was first published in Russian in 2018, and it’s a strange book to read right now, given the war in Ukraine. Vodolazkin was born in 1964 in Kiev, or Kyiv, making him a Ukrainian. He lives in St. Petersburg in Russia, and he met his wife there, when both were attending graduate school at Pushkin House. Brisbane displays a high degree of consciousness of the two languages, Ukrainian and Russian; at Literary Hub, Marion Schwartz, the translator, describes how the two languages intersect in the novel.
More Good Reads
Writing and Literature
Michel Houellebecq is no fan of Europe – David Sexton at The Spectator.
Phoebe Atwood Taylor: Prolific Mystery Novelist and Creator of “The Codfish Sherlock” – Otto Penzler at CrimeReads.
A Map of Dante’s Inferno in Three Touchstones – James Matthew Wilson at Church Life Journal.
Life and Culture
The Virtue of Argument – Lindsay Ralls at The Circe Institute.
CDC Tracked Millions of Phones to See if Americans Followed COVID Lockdown Orders – Joseph Cox at Vice.
Living the Satyricon – Victor Davis Hanson at New Criterion.
Nightmare Journal: From the first days of war – Nikita Petrov at Psychopolitica.
Ukraine’s Patriotic Master: Painter Ilya Repin – Michael Prodger at The Critic Magazine.
Russian Tycoon Criticized Putin’s War. Retribution was Swift – Anton Troianovski and Ivan Nechepurenko at The New York Times.
Searching for a Lost History in Modern-Day Russia – Marcia DeSanctis at Literary Hub.
Words “in Praise of General Berry”: Hiram Berry Memorial Poems – Chris Mackowski at Emerging Civil War.
‘Crank Out a Few, Please’: Observations on Poetic Composition – Joseph Salemi at Society of Classical Poets.
Triumph of the New – Morri Creech at New Criterion.
How do We Respond if We Are the Incompetent Colleague? – Russell Gehrlein at the Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics.
Imperial Migrations – Vika Pechersky at Mere Orthodoxy.
When Belief is Agony – Susannah Black at Mere Orthodoxy.
A Molech Primer – Jesse Johnson at The Cripplegate.
Highland Cathedral -- André Rieu
Painting: Reading the newspaper on the subway 1914, oil on canvas by F. Luis Mora (1874-1940).