A couple weeks ago, legendary shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine released their first album in twenty-two years. The press surrounding the release of m b v was as extensive as any I’ve seen for a musical release in quite a long time. Why? What’s the big deal about this band coming back after so long?
Their new album, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, doesn’t reinvent the band’s sound; however, it does contain some of their best work. This is a natural extension of a long career, not just a cute or tired continuation of it.
Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano’s most famous novel, Dora Bruder, is something like a ghost story, though not in the traditional sense. It is a ghostly story about a young man and a nation haunted by history. Modiano received the Nobel Prize in literature in 2014, the fifteenth French writer to do so after the 2008 laureate Jean- Marie Georges Le Clézio. While Le Clézio’s writing is sensual and tinted with exoticism, Modiano’s is sparse, introspective, and heav- ily autobiographical, sometimes even termed “autofiction.”
This summer, I went to prison. Well, not actually, but I did watch Netflix’s original series “Orange is the New Black,” and therefore feel as though I am something of an authority on the subject of federal penitentiary. Piper Chapman, the show’s WASPy, neurotic protagonist, has led me on a tour of prison life, providing a kind of personal “scared straight” program.
This summer I have taken it upon myself to tackle John Steinbeck’s American epic East of Eden, a modern retelling of the biblical Cain and Abel story set to the backdrop of post-Gold Rush era Northern California—that is, Steinbeck’s own backyard. Summer is, for students at least, that blessed time of intellectual freedom during which schoolwork means almost nothing to you and you are free to read, write, study, and contemplate whatever you wish.