Tuesday, September 10, 2013


“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

― Charles Bukowski

Yiyun Li on Jonathan Lethem’s Dissident Gardens: “The book seems to ask: Is there ever an unselfish revolutionary? Dazzled by their own heroic egos, these characters don’t see they are but small players in a larger game called history.” Dissident  Rivers 
 I say almost because “Dissident Gardens” is, in the end, a genre-bender after all: a fairy tale retold through the looking glass. Cicero, an Alice in disguise, is led by Rose the Red Queen to a successful coronation. “But how can you talk with a person if they always say the same thing?” Queen Alice asks in Lewis Carroll’s classic. King Cicero doesn’t ask, because he doesn’t expect people on either side of any disagreement to have anything new to say. Is that a pessimistic view of America, where the real conversation — about race, about class, about the country and its politics — remains to be held?