The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities
Elana Ferrante's second Neapolitan novel,
even gave it one of our rare "best of the best"
Here we offer a list of other recent novels that
we feel deserve equal acclaim, but have yet to be
discovered by the gorgons of the book biz.NEW TITLESIdyll Threats
"I don't necessarily
pick up detective novels for
lessons on onanism and I found myself
getting as depressed with the inaction
as our Gloomy Gus here."
Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . .
"A blind man,
a Lesbian and frog
walk into a bar.
The barkeep looks at them and says,
'What is this --- a joke?'"
I Can Give You Anything But Love
a reporter, and a good one.
His reportorial digressions
make up for the other times
droning on under the beast
with two backs."
The Liar's Wife
"No wonder Theresa's so lorky.
For the nuns where she went to school,
she was a child of affliction.
Fortunately this burden disappeared
when Theresa finally got
out of the house and into college
when her broken old man died.
Whew: just in time."
The Ville Rat
"Let's give this one
a five for the action,
four for the rambling plot,
three for character interest ---
but a rousing ten for the elegant study of
Korean culture from those tumultuous years
after the end of the Korean War."
Like a Beggar
"I tell you
she turns everything into music.
She does the same with bats, flies, fish, ex-husbands,
wasps under the microscope, going about naked,
slaughtering chickens, growing up in New Jersey, tending
a dying mother, dealing with Miss America contests, all cutting
deeply into her soul."
Woodpeckers of the World
"He's the ladies' first choice, with a laugh in his voice
He gives all his rivals the bird
And it's nothing to him, on the tiniest whim
To peck a few holes in your head . . .
Ho-ho-ho ho ho, ho-ho-ho ho ho
Oh, that's the Woody Woodpecker song
Ho-ho-ho ho ho, ho-ho-ho ho ho
Yeah, he's a-peckin' it all day long"
"The Hell's Angels of
the Disability movement, speeding around on wheelchairs
rather than Harleys, wearing headbands, blocking
non-accessible buses, and chasing transportation executives
"Each of my commutes
was changed into a intoxicating journey into
upper-class England of a century-and-a-half ago,
there at the family spread in Yorkshire,
with all of the extended Verinder family,
and the ever-faithful butler Betteredge who had
been in the family for well over fifty years."
Great Reviews of the Past
More Harm Than Good
"In the cases where the most money and
the most care were lavished on the luckier
(or at least wealthier) patients,
the outcomes were slightly worse than
in the poorer areas: specifically the survival rate of
the patients was actually slightly lower in the areas
where the most money was spent."
Help Your Dog Fight Cancer
"Long after he should have been permitted
to go to his happy hunting ground,
he suffered from an overdose of pet specialists, shots,
pills and chemicals that made his final days as bad
as those of some of our parents who live
on and on, even though their bodies, if they were given the choice,
would have checked out years before. "
The Wrong Icehouse
A General in the Chinese Army
EVEN MORE LETTERS
Beavers in Florida
Plato and Platypus
Letter from Seattle
a visitor to the Glass Museum in Tacoma,
evidently an art critic of particular sensitivity,
smashed one of Dale Chihuly's creations, valued at $120,000.
The poor fellow was indicted, although I think he deserves an award.
If you'd like to join us, we could
strike a medal for him when
he gets out of stir."
The New Silence
"Bit by bit, bird by bird, species by species,
gurgling brook by gushing river, the song of wild nature is,
in many places, falling deathly silent.
The reasons? You already know:
Real estate development, mining, logging,
habitat destruction, climate change, drought."
The House of the Dealer
"Stepping into his living room was like
entering the scrambled brain of a serial killer
through a portal of used motor oil.
Garbage covered not only the floor but the chairs, tables,
sofa, and every other available surface.
There was simply no physical boundary
between the living room and the outdoors,
and the slope itself was covered in even more garbage.
It resembled a municipal dump."
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and the Burning Ghats
"Let us wander along the shores of any river,
but rather late in the evening,
so as to spend the night there until daybreak.
Only the rich, or those belonging to
the highest castes are burned in the evening.
For ordinary mortals, for the poor outcastes,
there is neither fire nor even an ordinary prayer."
A Head Full of Maggots
"Speaking as a servant, I am deeply indebted to you.
Speaking as a man, I consider you to be a person whose
head is full of maggots, and I take up my testimony
against your experiment as a delusion and a snare."
Two by Ellen Bass
Ordinary Sex, Relax
"Bad things are going to happen.
Your tomatoes will grow a fungus
and your cat will get run over.
Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream
melting in the car and throw
your blue cashmere sweater in the dryer."
Two More by Ellen Bass
At the Padre Hotel, Ode to the Fish
"Nights when I can't sleep, I listen to the sea lions
barking from the rocks off the lighthouse.
I look out the black window into the black night
and think about fish stirring the oceans.
Muscular tuna, their lunge and thrash
churning the water, whipping up a squall,
storm of hunger. Herring cruising,
river of silver in the sea, wide as a lit city."
THE OFFICIAL RALPH
OUR NEW POETRY BOOK
The Vivisection Mambo
has just been published in quality antique typeset style.
It consists of 125 poems of the new Neo-Realist School,
many appearing here for the first time.
In a starred review, Kirkus called it
A fine anthology of some of the best contemporary poetry around.
OUR RECENT ANTHOLOGY
The Noisiest Book Review in the Known World
was published two years ago.
It contains 200 or so of what we believe
to be the best articles, readings, reviews and poems
from this magazine --- from our very first years to now.
If you subscribe to RALPH, you get a free copy of this anthology ---
which was just listed by Kirkus as
"One of the Best Books of 2014."
All the back-issues of RALPH,
including titles of books under review,
along with author, subject, and publisher,
plus links to readings, articles, and poems
that have appeared on-line
THE FESSENDEN REVIEW
b. 1985 - d. 1989
Our predecessor magazine received
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The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times,
The San Francisco Chronicle, and on
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You can now find links here to all thirteen riotous issues.
A PITHY SAMPLE
of our most notorious reviews
as collected in the hard-copy
With your $25 subscription,
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T H E F A C T S
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Suggestions for would-be contributors --- and payment schedule.
The best way to get books to RALPH for review.
Suggestions for would-be reviewers --- and payment schedule.
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The Fessenden Fund
Describing the good works of RALPH's official godparent
Mho & Mho Works
A Dozen or so Books from Our Publishing House
Behind the Scenes
The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
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