Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Circle and Sparrow

by Daddy X

In November, the antiques collective where I hawk my stuff was taken over by new but familiar management. Since then, the business has taken a substantial leap. My space has doubled and we host six new dealers with their own interests and sense of artistic aesthetics, creating a much wider appeal for the public.  I’m now working twice the hours with a corresponding loss of reading time. Hence, this short list:

The Inner Circle by T. C. Boyle

When I last reviewed a Boyle book on these pages, Lisabet mentioned that she had read “The Inner Circle”. A shout out for the recommendation, Lisabet!

Currently, Boyle has to be my favorite writer. Seems I’m reading him every third or fourth book, and for good reason. For one, none of his stories are like any of his others. He varies delivery, subject matter and voice, employing a seemingly limitless vocabulary to weave imaginative characters into improbable scenarios while demonstrating an elevated sense of range and attention to nuance. 

The title refers to a group of students who find themselves working with pioneer sex researcher Alfred (Prok) Kinsey. Though the novel may be similar in one respect to Boyle’s The Women (which follows the life of Frank Lloyd Wright) in that both track the wives and acolytes of famous men, that’s where the similarity ends.

While The Women deals with Wright’s various wives, The Inner Circle is more concerned with direct sexuality and the complications that arise when a new concept, at the time known as Free Love, runs amok.

Sex of every stripe is touched upon, but one could hardly call it erotic. The story deals more with how and for what reasons human beings behave the way they do vis-à-vis libidinous urges. We learn that when it comes to desire, theory doesn’t begin to address the reality of these most complex emotions.

The Sparrow  by Jason Matthews

This was recently released as a movie, but I wanted to read the book before seeing it. So I gleeped it from Momma X’s TBR stack, and am now nearly 100 pages in, not really enough to do an objective review. But I will offer a so-far take.

I must say that once I get this many pages into a book, I’ll seldom put it down. (Hooray!). In fact, I’ll give most any book 50 pages, and if not into it by then, I’ll pass it along to someone who might enjoy it. I can’t tell you how many books there are where I’ve read just 50 pages. :>)

Initially, the main character, Dominica, reminds me of Lilya, a character from my short story Spy v Spy, available in The Gonzo Collection. Both women are resourceful, determined, beautiful, young and by all appearances dedicated (though to an extent we’re not quite sure of) to the Russian cause.

Her first assignment is to entice a mark into sex. Considering she’s a gorgeous ballerina, who has suffered an injury that limits any possibility of a future in dance, this proves quite easy. But when the man inside her is garroted mid-stroke (a surprise to her) and she’s bathed in the man’s blood from simple force of gravity, the realities of her new job make themselves clear.


  1. Hi, Daddy!

    Glad you're enjoying The Inner Circle, though I am not surprised.

    I have two Boyle books on my shelf that I haven't started yet, Riven Rock and The Harder They Come. They're calling my name...!

    Is The Sparrow the source of the newly release movie Red Sparrow, with Jennifer Lawrence? I saw the preview the other night -- looked quite good -- though a review I read disagreed.

    1. I did read The Harder They Come, but I think my fave was Drop City. Of course, he's also a master of the short story, of which he has hundreds to choose from.

      And yes, the movie is based on this book. Can't wait to see Jennifer Lawrence without clothes. :>)

  2. I wonder if Jennifer will do it, "Full Monty" for the ART?? Why is so rare to see men doing full frontal nudity for the art of it? Those of us who have female bits of our own, can look in the mirror anytime! More male nudity in movies that aren't porn, please!

    1. Perhaps the actors are... ahem... sensitive about their... ahem again... size ... when flaccid?

  3. I read an interview with Jennifer Lawrence about the movie as a whole, and she said she resisted doing the nude scene, but did eventually realize that it was necessary (for the art, you could say,) and the director made it easier for her by looking her right in the eyes the whole time instead of at parts of her body. So let's look her in the eyes, Daddy X--at least part of the time.

    1. Actually, a woman's eyes can be the first thing that catches MY eye. Certainly her face.

      Nice tush works too. :>)

  4. Hmm interesting. I saw a movie about Kinsey a while back, had Laura Linney in it, I want to say? It would be interesting to get a different view on the story, if I can get around to reading this book...


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