The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Author: The Furious Gazelle Editors (page 2 of 38)

Book Review: Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography by Andrea Warner

Buffy Sainte Marie Andrea Warner

Review by Tess Tabak

In this volume, Andrea Warner paints a heartbreaking-yet-inspiring picture of Buffy Sainte Marie, the folk rock legend who’s mostly been erased from music history. Blacklisted by two US presidents, Buffy was an outspoken woman of color, and an activist, exactly the type of person that gets willfully forgotten.

When my baby boomer aunt saw this book, her face lit up. “I love Buffy!” she said. “Whatever happened to her?”

This book answers that question. Buffy only had one or two records that achieved hit status in the US. She never stopped producing music after that. However, much of her later works were not commercial successes, deemed too experimental. Other of her songs were covered by, and later attributed to, more famous musicians, including “Until It’s Time for You to Go,” a song Elvis Presley famously covered and allowed his fans to think he had written.

There’s even more to the story of why Buffy exists in relative obscurity today, despite being one of the most inventive, original artists of the 60s and 70s. This work makes a case for Buffy as one of the musical greats of the 60s. Continue reading

2018 Halloween Contest Winner: “Careful With The Borscht,” by Victoria Masters

Crooked fingers of thick grey fog moan over the birch forest. The sky looks heavy. My nose is pressed up against the window, breath hot on the frosty pane.

“Come away from there,” Mama says to me in Russian, “you’ll freeze.”

“Mama,” I turn to her. She’s dark and bundled in the cold light. “Can me and Kolya go out and play?”
She draws in a sharp breath, and eyes the edge of the forest. “Why do you want to play? It will rain later, look. Better to stay inside. Talk to your family you haven’t seen.”

“Please?”

She looks down her long, thin nose at me. Hands on hips, heart beating. I’ve been trapped inside the dacha, summer cottage, for days as Karelia pours bucket after bucket of rain down on us. We don’t usually come in the autumn, but my grandmother wanted to spirit us away from the city before my mother and I go back to New Jersey. My heart is pounding against my chest, itching to breathe the open air.

“Maybe,” Mama acquiesces. “After you eat your lunch.” Continue reading

2018 Halloween Contest Finalist: “Lila in Hollywood,” by Timothy Day

Lila was almost home when she saw him. He lay beneath the flickering street lamp just around the curve from her apartment. His eyes were closed and there was a pool of dried blood on his shirt. Lila looked around. No one else in sight. She knelt and checked for a pulse. Nothing. His neck smelled like coffee. Lila checked his pockets. In his wallet she found an I.D. card from some talent agency. Travis, his name was Travis. Lila knew she should call the police, but he was so beautiful. And he looked light enough to carry, or at least drag. Lila lifted up his shirt. His ribs were visible around the wound. He was kind of dirty. She checked the road again, then looped her arms beneath his shoulders and began tugging him around the corner. His shoes made soft scrapes on the concrete. Lila took them off. My floors are soft, she whispered.

 

When they got to her building, Lila brought Travis through the back door. The hallway was–thank God–empty. She scrambled for her keys and unlocked her door and dragged Travis inside. His legs crossed the threshold just as her neighbor Kyle opened his door. Lila jumped over them and into the hallway. She tried to pull the door closed, but it caught on Travis’ feet. Kyle stepped out and smiled at her. She swung the door hard, knocking Travis’ feet aside, and pressed it shut. Kyle stopped in front of her and put his hands in his pockets.

“Hey Lila,” he said. “How’s it going?” He took one hand out and scratched the back of his neck.

“Hi Kyle,” Lila shouted. “I was just checking my mail.”

“For sure,” Kyle said. “No mail today huh?”

“I don’t know,” Lila said. “What I meant was, I’m about to check it.”

“Oh got ya,” Kyle nodded. “Totally.”

They stood in silence.

“I have to go,” Lila said, not moving.

“Oh for sure,” Kyle said. He stood for a moment, then started walking down the hallway. At the exit he looked back over his shoulder, smiled at the floor, and left. Lila hurried back into her apartment and locked the door.

Lila sat Travis on the couch. His head slumped to the side. She took hold of either end and gently centered it, leaning it just so against the cushion so that it remained upright.

She beamed. “Make yourself at home!”

~ Continue reading

2018 Halloween Contest Finalist: “The Upside Down Mermaid,” by Sarah Miller

Photos by Erin Popelka

It was subtle at first. When Carpolina was 14, she noticed some scales forming around the base of her neck. Her mother always told her that puberty was a bitch, and to expect strange bodily changes around this age. Sure, the scales were kind of itchy, but in the lighting of the bathroom, they glistened. In high school, where everyone experiments with spoken word poetry and dramatic fashion statements, no one suspected anything when Carpolina showed up wearing turtlenecks. Continue reading

Book Review: You Are the Everything by Karen Rivers

Review by Tess Tabak

In You are the Everything, a new YA novel by Karen Rivers, a high school student struggles to piece together her life following a horrific event.

Elyse Schmidt has always wanted to date Josh Harris, but he’s never noticed her. However, now that they’re the sole survivors of a plane crash, they begin to bond. Elyse finally has everything she wanted. All it took was the death of her best friend, everyone in her marching band class, and some 200-odd strangers.

If you’re looking for a YA novel as some kind of escape/fantasy, you’re in the wrong place.You are the Everything deals with some tough stuff: grief, PTSD, and survivor’s guilt. However, even though I generally fall into the “escapism/pleasure” YA camp, I sort of enjoyed reading this book.

Enjoy is the wrong word. This book is a bit like a plane crash: it’s bright, shiny, impossible to look away. I read the whole thing fairly quickly (though this may have something to do with the fact that I was on an airplane at the time). (On that note – Do not read this book on a plane. In about 5 minutes I went from “Oh cute! They’re on an plane too!” to “Oh no! I’m on a plane too.”) Continue reading

Book Review: See All The Stars by Kit Frick

Review by Dan Tarnowski

see all the stars kit frick

See All The Stars is a debut work of YA fiction by Kit Frick. It is billed as “part love story, part suspenseful thriller.” The blurb describes an intense and complex coming-of-age story involving four teenage women. “What happened then to make Ellory so broken now?” The plot follows headstrong Ellory’s life between “then” and “now.”

The chapters of the 305-page young adult fiction novel alternate back and forth between “then” and “now”, past and present. The “then” chapters recap Ellory’s junior year of high school in bits and pieces, and the “now” chapters depict her subsequent senior year, showing the aftermath of “then.”

The fractured plot makes the book somewhat slow to build steam, especially as most of the story is told through Ellory’s thoughts, thus turning fiction’s “show rather than tell” convention  upside down. As the groundwork for the “then and now” plot is laid, we learn about Ellory’s group of friends, her high school routine, and her unique relationship with her best friend, Ret. Kit Frick’s poetic language is displayed from the get go, and this voice, part image-heavy, part wittily penetrating observer, becomes a compelling layer in the world of See All The Stars (“The green flecks in his eyes flashing like marble glass signaling yes, yes, yes”). Continue reading

“The Kiss in the Gallery,” a short story by Scott Bassis

I gazed with both awe and skepticism at Kevin as he sipped his coffee, bit into his muffin and surfed the web on his phone. We had been together for four months, yet there were still times when he felt to me like a figment or dream. It seemed as if he might vanish at any moment, leaving me alone in my Brooklyn apartment. 

In the decade before I met Kevin, there wasn’t one Sunday that I didn’t take breakfast alone. I’d had a few one-night-stands, but always crept away or convinced the guy to leave as quickly as possible. It was no wonder I occasionally doubted if Kevin was real. For my entire adult life and most of my childhood, solitude had been my only companion.

I met Kevin at a Hell’s Kitchen gay bar. I didn’t go to bars often, but once in a while did crave human company. Kevin walked in, slender, bespectacled, gawkily handsome, in khakis and a buttoned-down shirt buttoned to the top. Appearing as wholesome as a fifties sitcom character, he seemed as out of place there as I felt. That was surely what possessed me to approach him, ask him the name of his cerulean blue drink. We ended up having three rounds of “bluebirds.” At the end of the night, we exchanged numbers and went to our respective homes, a rarity in the gay world. If I were to find love, it couldn’t be with anyone remotely normal.

Kevin was strange because he was so “normal,” raised by two devoutly religious, yet wholly accepting parents in a small Minnesota town. He had moved to New York from Minneapolis a month earlier, transferred by his consulting firm. He’d recently ended a long-term monogamous relationship. There was no Grindr on his phone. The only “Molly” he knew of was his sister-in-law. Continue reading

Book Review: The Dying of the Light by Robert Goolrick

Review by Tess Tabak

The Dying of the Light is a sumptuous feast of a book, rich in texture and detail. Robert Goolrick tells the life story of Diana Cooke, the jewel of a dying Southern empire. She and her family invest everything they have, their very souls, into saving their estate, a sprawling house named Saratoga.

Even though Diana’s story contains more tragedy than light, Goolrick’s impeccable eye for detail make this book a pleasure to read. He includes glorious descriptions of the luxuries in Diana’s life: her fine clothing, and the Southern scenery.

“For a moment she stood, freed from her father’s arm as he wheeled himself back from her, until she was alone in the light, eyes lowered demurely, under the hundreds of candles in the seemingly hundreds of crystal chandeliers, the luminous room catching the glitter from her warrior’s tiara, her luminous, flawless skin, and then she bowed her head, her swan’s neck bending so that her chin touched her neck, and made the curtsy that was so elegant, so graceful, it was forever to be named after her.” Continue reading

Q&A with cartoonist Gisele Lagace

Gisele LagaceGisele Lagace got her start in webcomics in the early 2000s, with Cool Cat Studio. Since then, she’s gone on to create a wide range of webcomics, including Menage a 3, a Three’s Company-esque adult romantic comedy, and Eerie Cuties, about a school for magical teens.

In addition to managing her own ring of webcomic titles, more recently, she’s also left her mark on cartoon characters straight out of your childhood. She drew several issues of Betty Boop and Jem and the Holograms, as well as reimagining the cast of Archie gender swapped.

Issue 1 of her newest title, Exorsisters (script by Ian Boothby), will be released tomorrow by Image Comics. (You can read a sneak peak online).

 

Q: You’ve collaborated quite closely, as a writer, with David Lumsdon and T. Campbell over the years. What do you like about working collaboratively?

I like that it sometimes takes me out of my comfort zone artistically. It’s also nice to be able to rely on another brain to solve a story problem.

Q: Anything you dislike about collaboration?

I guess I dislike it for the same things I like it for. At times, I can be sent outside my comfort zone a little too much, and too many cooks is also an issue sometimes with writing stuff collaboratively.

Q: David Lumsdon has his own titles now that grew out of Ma3, which you created. What’s it like having someone else working solo in a universe you built? Was it hard to let go of creative control?

I don’t have a problem with that. It also helps that I use T Campbell as editor on all properties, so I’m confident he’ll make sure everything works together. Maybe I put too much trust in people at times, but it’s generally the way I roll. Continue reading

Book Review: Scribe by Alyson Hagy

Review by E. Kirshe

Scribe by Alyson Hagy is a fascinating and quick read yet at just under 160 pages this novel packs a lot of story. Hagy’s writing is beautiful, stylistically as the whole book comes off as poetic as well as having that practicality that lets the reader feel like they are really in the landscape of the novel.

 

“Outside, the air was layered with the scents of cooling bark and leaves. The sun flared behind the hill where the Hopkins house lay in ruins, nothing left to scratch the sky but its four stout chimneys. Persimmons. The sunset was the color of persimmons.”

 

And what a strange location it is- set in a harsh dystopian landscape of a post-war, post-pandemic Appalachia the decimated population relies on bartering and brute force to survive.

The unnamed main character trades in words, writing letters for people who seem to think the act can vindicate or more importantly offer them absolution. She’s been living in peace on her family’s lands for years; alliances are kept in place both with the local overseer Billy Kingery and with the group of migrants she allows to live on her land, the Uninvited, a group which seems to almost worship her late sister. When she agrees to write and deliver a letter, something of a confession, for a mysterious man named Hendricks a devastating series of events unfold. Continue reading

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