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FICTION: Who Is She?

The Chinese storyteller Can Xue (“Dirty Snow”) has written many justly celebrated stories about magic mountains, disappearing shoes, perceptive cats and dead uncles, but in Five Spice Street, her first novel to be translated into English, she has written a social novel about a street that survives on daydreams.

FICTION/DRAMA: Triple the Tragic Fantastic

Imagine: only four of Shakespeare’s plays survive. The rest were destroyed by the Puritans or burned in the Great Fire.

NONFICTION: A Natural Inclination

Early 20th century environmentalist Aldo Leopold once wrote: “A thing is right only when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the community; and the community includes the soil, waters, fauna and flora, as well as the people.”

NONFICTION: Craziest Guys on the Lower East Side

It used to be that calling an autobiography “thesis–driven” was akin to an insult, but to my mind the best recent life stories are of this type.

NONFICTION: Skywriting

It’s a good thing Brazil lies far from New England, for without such continental separation it might have been impossible for the friendship of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell to have survived.

FICTION: Bodies In Motion

In 1792, William Blake indicts the city of London by invoking the metaphor of its abominations running in blood down city walls.

NONFICTION: Who Is the Foulest of Them All

PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs) are once again the dominant topic of discussion at New York Post editorial meetings.


Now, from Philadelphia comes a modern day Mallarmé in the post-avant emissions of Frank Sherlock who is “telling the future from memory.”


Seven stories and seven essays comprise Firan’s fourth prose collection in English.


The Brooklyn Rail

MARCH 2009

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