“He really was an enchanting person. In some way he was like the spiritual father of everybody…. It is hard to imagine Central Park without Charles Kennedy.” Marie Winn, author of Red-tails in Love, and close friend of Charles, remembering him after his death in October 2004

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Moment for Bloomsbury and Literature

Whoa!  The past week dived by faster than a red-tailed hawk after a Central Park pigeon.  On Friday the 11th I had the pleasure of attending the 30th birthday party for The Bloomsbury Review, the fine literary magazine published in Denver.  'The Blooms' mission is laudable.  From the website:

Since 1980, we have published a book magazine with you, the discriminating book reader, in mind. We don’t plug the mega-bestsellers. We don’t push celebrity biographies or “how-to-get-richer-thinner-smarter-happier books.” And we don’t hype books or authors that are reviewed in every newspaper and magazine in the country. You hear enough about them already.

The Bloomsbury Review® is not slick, stuffy, fluffy, snobby, ponderous, or presumptuous.
The Bloomsbury Review® is simply lively writing about good reading and great writers.

If you are visiting this website and are not familiar with the Bloomsbury Review, we must rectify the situation.  Go to their website and subscribe.  You will be richer for it.  I promise!

Charles wrote several reviews about nonfiction nature books for The Blooms.  His reviews came from the same 'voice' as the essays in his own books- at once technical, whimsical, and informative- and always a joy to read.  One of his (and my) favorite reviews was of a book profiling Vladimir Nabokov's passion for butterfly study.  Charles was a head-over-heels fan of everything Nabokov wrote AND of butterflies.  There will be more to come on butterflies and literature in future posts.

I am currently reading a powerful triptych-style historical novel, Shadow Country: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend, by another literary master, Peter Matthiessen.  It was originally published as a three-novel trilogy in the 1990s and has been reworked into a single novel, in three 'books' (2008: Modern Library.)  At many points in the novel I've felt a vestigial twinge- wishing I could share powerful passages and themes of the book with Charles, as we would so often do.  Matthiessen explores themes that were important to Charles and me, and he writes with great clarity and power.
From Matthiessen's Author's Note:
"...it might be argued that the metaphor of the Watson [focal character] legend represents our tragic history of unbridled enterprise and racism and the ongoing erosion of our human habitat as these affect the lives of those living too close to the bone and way out on the edge, with no voice in the economic and environmental attrition that erode the foundation of their hopes and nothing with which to confront their own irrelevance than grit and rage." (p. xi) 

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