The Page Boy

By E.B. Boatner January 27, 2011

Categories: Books, Our Affairs

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The Businessman: A Tale of Terror
The M.D.: A Horror Story
The Priest: A Gothic Romance
The Sub: A Study in Witchcraft

Thomas M. Disch
University of Minnesota Press • $16.95 each
Hugo Award-winner and prolific-science-fiction-writer Thomas M. Disch (1940-2008) lived as a teen for several years in Minnesota, which together with his Catholic schooling gave him fodder for these remarkable novels. Rereleased now by the University of Minnesota Press, these four volumes of “Supernatural Minnesota” meld humor, horror, wickedness, and the supernatural with Disch’s finely-crafted prose and masterful storytelling skills. The Businessman, in the person of the repellant Bob Glandier, kills his estranged wife—who returns to haunt him with her dead mother and the ghost of poet John Berryman. In The M.D., the god Mercury gives young Billy a caduceus, and the power to cure or kill. The Priest opens with a Minneapolis priest, Father Patrick Bryce, a “rehabilitated” pedophile, being tattooed with the devil’s face—enter blackmail, past lives, sorcery, evil, and the darkest of dark humor. The Sub’s disturbed Diana Turney is a portal for shape-changing, cruelty, and murder.

Fashion: 150 Years, Couturiers, Designers, Labels
Charlotte Seeling
H.F. Ullmann • $69.99
You needn’t be a fashionista to become engrossed in this marvelous chronicle of fashion trends and fabulous designers. Its 500-some glossy pages beautifully are illustrated with 1,000 images—in black-and-white and color—capturing the sublime and the ridiculous, depending on your tastes. Seeling takes the mesmerized reader from voluptuous models of the late-19th-Century through the twig-thin sylphs of modern time. And the designers…it takes a volume this massive to contain the gargantuan egos and personalities of the likes of Paul Poiret, “The First Designer” (1879-1944); Coco Chanel (1883-1971); Elsa Schiaparelli, of the monkey fur shoes (1890-1973); and Gilbert Adrian (1903-1959), who as simply “Adrian” draped the likes of Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, and Jean Harlow. Modern personalities include the late “bad boy” Alexander McQueen (1969-2010), as well as “The Philosopher,” Hussein Chalayan, a Cypriot transplanted to London.

Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature
Emma Donoghue
Alfred A. Knopf • $27.95
Donoghue has done an immense amount of literary spadework to spare you and me the effort, so that we may peruse the myriad of titles she has unearthed. With the bibliography organized chronologically, her material is readily available to all readers. Herself a novelist, playwright, and literary critic, she has perused “scores of studies” as well as original sources to explore same-sex love and female bonding in general (i.e., not necessarily what one normally would call “lesbian”). By this same token, Donoghue includes Jane Eyre, the “founding text of the tradition” of institutionalized or isolated girls and young women thrown together sans male contact to discover the love of other women. She examines Shakespeare’s crossdressing Rosalind and Viola, providing frissons as young men played young women disguised as young men. Finally, “Monsters” are defined as those “heroines” of tales in which “a wicked woman tries to seduce and destroy an innocent one,” providing frissons of their own.

Yoga for Every Room in Your House
Jinjer Stanton
Great Bear Press • $14.95
Baby, it’s cold outside, but you don’t have to trek to the gym or a class to practice and benefit from yoga right in your home—in every room. A yoga teacher for more than 12 years, local author Jinjer Stanton has found hatha yoga to be a powerful tool for imparting wellness to both mind and body. She shows readers how ordinary household furniture and objects—which one might expect to have to clear away to create a studio space—instead can become aids and props for the exercises themselves. After going over the basics of proper breathing, mindful movement, and power of the mind, she opens bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and office for the practitioner—with succinct instructions and playful illustrations. For the novice, Stanton supplies the chapter “Hindu/Yoga Scriptural History,” touching on the Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagavad-Gita, as well as yoga’s “Eightfold Path” that includes ethical principles, control of the senses, concentration, and union with the divine. Visit www.jinjerstanton.com.

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