Posts Tagged 'Johnny Hartman'

Two by Joan Frank

Where You’re All Going
Four Novellas
Joan Frank
Sarabande Books 2020

Try to Get Lost
Essays on Travel and Place
Joan Frank
University of New Mexico Press 2020

Reviewed by Bob Wake

The publication of two new books from writer Joan Frank offers readers a not-to-be-missed opportunity to experience the range of her literary gifts. The four novellas in Where You’re All Going demonstrate the author’s eye for observational and psychological detail. Frank’s characters, no matter their documented flaws or shortcomings, are often mesmerized and transported by music and art. A character swooning in revery describes jazz singer Johnny Hartman as having a “blackberry-syrup voice.” Viewing portraiture by the painters Thomas Eakins and John Singer Sargent is “like a form of time travel.” Observational and psychological detail are also the qualities that bring an immersive richness to her travel essays in Try to Get Lost. She spurs herself, and all of us, to follow “Henry James’s injunction—to be someone on whom nothing is lost.” While adding, with the flinty wisdom of a seasoned traveler, “Understand you will continue to fail spectacularly at this.” (“Resolve it anyway,” she advises.)

Frank.GoingFrank’s well-received 2017 novel, All the News I Need, introduced us to one of the most memorable characters in recent literature. Splenetic, yet fulsomely life-affirming, Frances “Frannie” Ferguson. Frannie reappears in Where You’re All Going, in the novella “Open Says Me.” Retired and unmoored in Northern California since the death of her husband, Frannie marks time, literally, singing and performing with a local choral group. Music sustains her. Buoys her. (“Melodies like currents, pushing away everything that is not them.”) Deliriously profane. “Christ on a cracker,” is a milder locution. An imbiber of whatever’s on hand, such as diet ginger ale laced with “long quantities of Cuervo Gold.” Frannie’s attraction to a thirty-something D.J. is fueled less by alcohol and poor judgment than enthrallment to their shared deep-cut knowledge of American pop music. She invites the D.J. to a choral concert and an after-show meet-up. Humiliation and self-loathing ensue. A children’s park train is involved. The story’s final image is grotesque, wistful, and wildly hilarious all at once.

Writer Richard Ford, in his introduction to The Granta Book of the American Long Story, tells us that novellas (typically running between sixty and a hundred and twenty pages in length) are “nicely suited to stories of character disintegration.” Frank deploys this trajectory with skill. As well as its opposite: characters circuitously winding their way toward wisdom and insight. In Frank’s novella “Biting the Moon,” the narrator shares memories of her romance years ago with a celebrity composer. The story grows increasingly fraught as she recalls drunken and abusive behavior from him. Her memories shift and mature as she confronts and interrogates them. Joan Frank’s novellas crystalize the passage of time in profound ways. The final two stories in Where You’re All Going, “Cavatina for Passenger X” and the title novella, channel Chekhov in their microcosmic portraits of community, friendship, marriage. (“Every marriage contained the seeds of its own end, happy and unhappy in almost equal measure until, by whim or accretion, the balance tipped.”)

Frank.LostImpersonal travel essays are nowhere to be found in Frank’s deeply personal collection of travel essays, Try to Get Lost. She is blessedly blunt about this turbulent era “of perhaps the most frightening protofascist ever to assume office in American history.” Her essay “Red State, Blue State” is a Baedeker for bad times. Survival strategies include everything from exercise to charity work to “you drink.” Pulling up stakes is an option, not a panacea. “Travel beats us up,” she admits in “Shake Me Up, Judy.” “Sleep’s elusive. Stress is amped.” Her sketches of European cities benefit enormously from shoe leather reporting (and the accompanying shin splints). The verisimilitude is breathtaking. Shop windows in Italy (“In Case of Firenze”) inspire a cinematic cascade of history and culture:

Itemize what you see: dusty, crumbling books, violins and mandolins, vases and dishes, forged bells, paintings from centuries-old flea markets, maps, inscrutable scientific instruments, decrepit birdcages, flags, buttons, globes, chess sets, rusting anchors, pulp paperbacks in multiple languages, bed-frames, empty bottles, belts, sconces, trays, mirrors, cracked pages from old botanical texts of hand-tinted prints torn out and framed. Etchings and woodcuts. Bad art. Bad furniture. Exquisite art. Exquisite furniture, draped with insanely expensive tapestries. Chandelier crystals. Kitchen appliances. Living room sets. Faience. Crates of tarnished, unmatched jewelry. Gilt sculpture. Murano glass. Religious icons. Life-sized statuary. Broken toys, cheesecake photos, unclassifiable objets from the 1950s. Wooden clocks painted in garish designs, pendulums ticking away.

“Place becomes, finally, the only subject,” she writes in “The Where of It.” “Place is identity, style, faith, cosmology.” Joan Frank’s own story is threaded throughout Try to Get Lost. “Cave of the Iron Door” is a searing essay about hard family memories evoked on returning after many years to her childhood home in Arizona. “Here was the original world,” she writes. “Your big bang.” Sadnesses endure. They travel with us. A lost museum ticket on a trip to Germany in “Little Traffic Light Men” triggers a welling up of grief for her recently deceased sister. (“Here’s a fact I can offer with authority: it is very hard to find places in a museum’s rooms where you can cry in privacy. Corners seem to work best, if you face into them.”) Try to Get Lost is superb travel literature. It might also be one of the best memoirs you’ll read this year.


Mudstone

Recall: A Short Story

Walden West and the Twilight of Transcendentalism

eBook Single .99

Caffeine & Other Stories by Bob Wake

Order Caffeine to Go ($2.99 on Kindle)

Cloud Spew

"A Visit of Charity" 77 Square 2007 Man Booker Prize 2010 Wisconsin Book Festival 2016 Juniper Prize for Fiction 2018 Swan Scythe Press Chapbook Award 2666 Absalom Absalom! Adam Gopnik Adaptation Adolf Hitler Adrienne Miller Adult World (I) Adult World (II) A Gate at the Stairs Alan Cheuse Alan Greenspan Alcoholics Anonymous Alfred Hitchcock Alison Jones Chaim Alive in Joberg Allegheny Mountains Allison Fiutak All the News I Need Al Pacino Alpha the Moralist Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself American Boy American Players Theater Amy Lou Jenkins Anchor Books And If It Be Mean Andrew Rieger Andrzej Wajda An Evening in Spring An Inventory of Lost Things Anne Donnellan Anne Enright Anne Frank Anne Lamott Anne M. Donnellan Annette O'Toole Ann Morrison Ann Prayer Ann Zindler Anthony Mann Antkind Anton Chekhov April Derleth (1954-2011) Arbor Vitae Arkham House Ashes and Diamonds Asperger's Syndrome A Theory of Lipstick At Home in the World A Tomb for Boris Davidovich August Derleth August McGinnity-Wake Autism Autism: Sensory-Movement Differences and Diversity Autism Asperger Publishing Company Avol's Bookstore B.J. Best Bad Axe Bangtail Press Barbara Buswell Barbara de Wilde Barbara Stanwyck Barry Levninson Battle of Stalingrad Baz Luhrmann Because You Have To: A Writing Life Being John Malkovich Bell Book and Candle Ben Armstrong's Strange Trip Home Ben Averill Bennett and Hastings Publishing Bernard Herrmann Bernard Schlink Big Bill Broonzy Bill of Lading Billy Strayhorn Birdman Birds of Wisconsin Blake Bailey Bob Dylan Bob Wake Bob Wake Goes on a Cruise Bon Iver Bonnie Friedman Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It Botteghe Oscure Bret Easton Ellis Brett Alan Sanders Brian Eno Brian Johnson Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Bruce Bodden Bruce Dethlefsen Buck Henry Burbank Byron Lindsey Cabin Boy Caffeine & Other Stories Calamity Song California Cambridge-Rockdale Wisconsin Cambridge Book Review Cambridge Book Review Press Cambridge Wisconsin Carol Quirk Cassandra Wilson Catch-22 Cathryn Cofell Cat People (1942) Cat People (1982) CBR Press Centennial Press Charles Baxter Charles Nevsimal Charlie Kaufman Chelsea Cardinal Chicago Sun-Times Chicago Tribune China's ghost towns Chris Ellery Chris Elliot Chris Hartsfield Chris Lott Christopher Nolan Citizen Kane Civil Rights Clark Street Rag Coleen Gray Coleman Colin Meloy Colony Collapse Press Common Ground Communist Poland Connie Lyle O'Brien Consultation Correcting the Landscape Cottonbound: An Audio Chapbook Council for Wisconsin Writers Cowfeather Press coyote mythology Criterion DVD Czeslaw Milosz D.T. Max Dale M. Kushner Daniel Berrigan Daniel Craig Daniel Fuchs Danilo Kiš Dan Parent Dark Card Darth Vader Dave & Phil Alvin Dave Eggers David Allan Cates David Bowie David Carr David Foster Wallace David Hidalgo David Hill David Koch David Letterman David Lipsky David Mamet David Pitonyak Debbie Googe Deborah Eisenberg Deference Del's Supper Club Demilitarized Zone Denis Johnson Dennis Graham Associates Derek Almstead Derrick Harriell Detour DeWitt Bodeen DFW RIP Diana Krall Dierdre Luzwick Disability Studies Quarterly District 9 Dmitri Shostakovich Dorothy Malone Double Indemnity Doug Moe Dr. Tatsuaki Ishiguro draft resistance DREAM Act Driftless Area Duke Ellington Dwight Allen Eau Claire Wisconsin ebook ebooks Echoes economics econophysics Ed Begley Jr. Edenfred Edgar Allan Poe Edgar G. Ulmer Edmund G. Bansak Edmund Goulding Edmund Wilson Edna O’Brien Edward G. Robinson Eighth String Quartet (Opus 110) Elegy Elf Power Elia Kazan Elie Wiesel Eli Roth Elizabeth Strout Ellendea Proffer Elli Hazit Elmore Leonard Elsa Morante Emily Dickinson Eric Harris Erik Richardson Ernest Hemingway Eschaton Esquire Magazine essays Ester Republic Press Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Eudora Welty Eugenio Montale Europe Central Evan Williams Every Love Story is a Ghost Story Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting Everything Ravaged Everything Burned F.J. Bergmann F. Scott Fitzgerald Fabu Facebook ads Fearing the Dark: The Val Lewton Career female jazz vocalists Film Noir Finishing Line Press Fireweed Press Fisherman's Beach Fisherman's Beach ebook Flight Patterns Flights For No One Fox 8: A Story Frances Kroll Ring Francis Kroll Ring Frank McCourt François Truffaut Fred MacMurray Freedom Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Freeman Walker Friedrich Nietzsche From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity Future Islands Fyodor Dostoyevsky Gail Godwin Gangnam Style Gay Davidson-Zielske Geoffrey Chaucer George Eastburn George Romero George Saunders George V. Higgins George Vukelich Georgia Ressmeyer Gerald Fosdal Geri Schrab Gerrit Welmers Ghosts in the Library Giorgio Moroder Giuseppe Cafiero Given These Magics God/Seed: Poetry & Art About the Natural World Go Down Moses Golden Bloom Goldmine in the Sun Goodbye to Language Graphic Classics Gregory Peck Greta Gerwig Halloween Hansa Kerman Pistotnik Harold Pinter Harper's Harvard University Press Heinrich Böll Helen P. Burlingame Helen Walker Henri-Pierre Roché Henry James Herbert Lovett Hieronymus Bosch High Noon Saloon Hitchcock Holden Caulfield Holy Week horror short stories Houdini Pie How Cow Press Hugging the Shore Hunger in America Ian Fleming Ian Keith Ian Murphy Icarus Himself Ida Lupino If I Could Tell You immigration policy Incarnations of Burned Children Inception In Envy Country Infinite Jest Inglourious Basterds Ingmar Bergman Inherent Vice Inside Outside Morningside Interior States In the Aeroplane Over the Sea In the Land of Men Irish literature J. Allen Kirsch J. D. Salinger Jacket Copy Jack Lehman Jack Nicholson Jacques Tourneur Jaimy Gordon James Avati James Bond James Brown James Dante James Ellroy James Joyce James P. Roberts James Roberts James Sedwards Jane Smiley Jason A. Smith Jason Epstein Jason Smith Jay McInerney Jayne Anne Phillips Jean-Luc Godard Jean-Luc Marion Jeff Bridges Jeff Esterholm Jeff Mangum Jennifer Arin Jennifer Croft Jeremy Irons Jeri McCormick Jerzy Andrzejewski Jesus' Son Jet Airliner Jimmy Hughes Jim Somers Jim Stevens Joan Bennett Joan Blondell Joan Frank Jodi Robledo Joel Weisman John Berryman John Cheever John Donne John Heard John Irving John Koethe John Lehman Johnny Hartman John O'Brien John Singer Sargent John Smelcer John Tuschen John Updike Jonathan Franzen Jonathan Regier Joseph H. Lewis Josh Cohen José Ángel Valente Joyce Maynard Judd Apatow Judge Judy Endow Jules and Jim Jules Furthman Junkie Nurse Justin Vernon Kamil Vojnar Kane County Illinois Republican Party Karla Huston Karl Elder Kate MacDonald Kate McGinnity Kate Winslat Kate Winslet Katherine Anne Porter Katherine Baker Kathy Kaebisch Kathy Sherwood Katjusa Cisar Katz Drug Store lunch-counter sit-in Keats Kenneth Slawenski Kim Garcia Kim Novak Kindle Kindle ebook Kloppenburg Korea Kristine Rusch Kurt Vonnegut Kyle Harper L. A. Times Laird Cregar Langston Hughes Larry Cyr Larry Watson Last Call Late Show with David Letterman Launchpad Laura Carter Lawrence Ferlinghetti Learning to Listen Ledgers of History Lee Garmes Lee Jing-Jing Lester Graves Lennon Lester Smith Lights! Camera! Autism! Lights! Camera! Autism! 2 Like a Cannonball Lillian Ross Linda Aschbrenner Linda Darnell Linda Lenzke Lindsay Lohan Lisa Ladson Lisa Pankratz literary contest Little Creek Press Little Eagle Press Local 311 Pipes & Drums Lon Chaney Jr. Look at the Birdie Lord of Misrule Lorine Niedecker Lorna Stevens Lorrie Moore Love and Theft Lucas Bielijewski Lyn Lifshin Madame Sul-Te-Wan Madison Madison 3/10/11 Madison Magazine Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Madison Wisconsin Madison Wisconsin protests Mahlon Mitchell Maile Meloy Main Street Rag Main Street Rag Publishing Co. Make it Stay Making Lemonade: Hints for Autism's Helpers Malcolm Lowry Malcolm McDowell Man Booker International Prize March 19 2011 Maria Rosa Lojo Marie Mundaca Marjorie Kowalski Cole Marshall Cavendish Editions Martha Leary Martin Amis Martin Scorsese Martin Sisters Publishing Mary C. Schuh Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction Matt Girard Matthew J. Bruccoli Max Garland Mayapple Press Medium Meghan O'Gieblyn Members of Each Other Men without Meaning Metamorphoses Michael Epstein Michael Kriesel Michael Lowry Michael Pietsch Michael Sheehan Middle English Miguel de Unamuno Mike Baron Milkweed Editions Mobius Modern Times Mom's Canoe Money Monroe Stahr Montana 1948 Mort Castle My Bloody Valentine My Life as a Terrorist: Uncovering my FBI file NAACP Nancy Jesse Nancy Zucker Nan Negri Nastassja Kinski National Book Award 2005 Native American folklore Neill Blomkamp Neil Young Neutral Milk Hotel Neutral Uke Hotel New York Times Nicholas Gulig Nickolas Butler Nick Tosches Nick Whetro Nicole Eredics Nightmare Alley Night of the Living Dead Nikolay Middle School Noon Wine Norbert Blei Norma Gay Prewett Norman Mailer North Country Notebook North Country Press Northwestern University Press Nothrop Frye Nutcracker Suite Oh Comely Olga Tokarczuk Olive Kitteridge online fiction Origins of FIS (Factory in a Suitcase) Orphan Orson Welles Oscar Swan Our Lives Ouroboros symbolism Ovid P.S. Mueller Painted Words: Aspects of Autism Translated Paradise Drive Parallel Press Parnell Nelson Passionate Nomads Patricia LeBon Herb Patricia Lundy Patty Berglund Paula Anderson Paula Kluth Paul Bowles Pauline Kael Paul McCartney Paul Michel Paul Schrader Paul Soglin Pencil Test Penelope Cruz Penguin paperback Peter Biskind Peter Yates Philip K. Dick Philip Roth Poetry Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf Polyester Popcorn Press Prairie du Sac Prairie Fire Poetry Quartet Press 53 Prince Myshkin Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin Proposals for the Recovery of the Apparently Drowned Psalms public housing Publishing: The Revolutionary Future Quentin Tarantino Quiet Nights Quiver Raging Bull (1980) Rain Man Ralph Murre Raskolnikov Raw Deal Ray Bradbury Raymond Carver Raymond Chandler Rebecca Foust Rebecca Williams Recall Red Dragonfly Press Redshift: Greenstreem Regal House Publishing Return to Walden West Revolutionary Road Revolver Richard Ford Richard Katz Richard Quine Richard Roe Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction Richard Widmark Richard Yates Rick Geary Riverhead Books River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize RKO Robert Bly Robert De Niro Robert Fripp Robert Mitchum Robert Musil Roberto Bolaño Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize Robert Zoschke Robin Chapman Rob Thomas Rock 'n' Roll Consciousness Rod Clark Rogers Street Fishing Village & Museum Rolling Stone Rosalyn Coleman Gilchrist Rosebud Rosebud 51 Rosebud 62 Rosebud Book Reviews Rosebud Magazine Royal Trux Ruben Varda Ruby Dee Rush Limbaugh Sac Prairie Sacramento Sally Wolff-King Salman Rushdie Salvador Dali Sam Spiegel Samuel Beckett Samuel Herring Sarabande Books Sarah Busse Satellite Collective Satellite Press saturated phenomena Sauk City Sauk City Wisconsin sci-fi science fiction Sean Connery Sebastian Barry Seoul Sharlto Copley Sharon Hammer Shawn Fogel Sheldon Roth Shirley Hazzard short stories short story Shoshauna Shy Shotgun Lovesongs Shrine of the Tooth Fairy siege of Leningrad Sietske van der Veen Signs and Wonders Simone Simon Simon Knight Singapore Six Gallery Press Slumdog Millionaire Sly in the Morning Somewhere Piano Sonic Youth Soviet Communism Spencer Walts Spiro Agnew Split Personality Spoke Spring Green Spring Green Wisconsin St. Martin's Press Stefan Szczuka Stephanie Bedford Stephen Greenblatt Stephen Hinkle Stephen King Steve Erickson Steve Miller Band Steven Salmon Steve Shelley Stranger in the Window suitcase nuclear reactor Summer of the Cinetherapist sunnyoutside Supermoon Susan Firer suspended animation Sven Birkerts Swan Scythe Press SXSW Tai Taeoalii Tama Janowitz Tamar Jacobsohn Taxi Driver (1976) Tchaikovsky Tell-Tale Camera Telling Time Temple Grandin Tenth of December Texas Review Press Tex Avery Thaisa Frank the 99 percent The Atlantic Monthly The Bagheeta The Best Day The Big Combo The Big Lebowski The Birds The Blasters The Broom of the System The Burning Monk The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari The Cambridge News The Capital Times The Captive Mind The Catcher in the Rye The Comedy of Errors The Conditions of Love The Corrections The Crack-Up The Curious Case of Benjamin Button The Decemberists The Dream Songs The Dude The Dying Animal the eelgrass meadow The Exchange & Other Stories The Frequency The Friends of Eddie Coyle The G.O.D. Club The Gathering The Gift of the Magi The Graduate The Great Gatsby The Green Suit The Hazards of Love The Humbling The Hungry Dead The Idiot The Last Tycoon The Love of the Last Tycoon: A Western The Macomber Affair The Magnificent Ambersons The Masturbator The Motion Sick The Mysterious Location of Kyrgyzstan The National Lampoon The New Yorker The New York Review of Books The Outlook for Earthlings The Pale King The Pat Hobby Stories The Permanent Press The Perpetual Commotion of the Heart The Reader The Second Pass The Secret Scripture The Sheltering Sky The Shield of the Valiant The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber The Silent Witness The Taking Under The Tiger's Wedding The Typewriter Satyr The Unexploded Ordnance Bin The Village Poet The Wolf Man (1940) The Writer's Cave Thich Nhat Hanh Thomas Christensen Thomas Eakins Thomas Fuchs Thomas J. King Thomas Merton Thomas Pynchon Three Years from Upstate Thurston Moore Time Out of Mind Tim Jonze Tim van der Meer Tim Ware Tippi Hedren Together Through Life Tom Connor's Gift Tom Pomplun Tom Sawyer Tracy Walczak transgender Tree of Smoke Trimalchio: An Early Version of the Great Gatsby Try to Get Lost Twitter Two English Girls Two Rivers Wisconsin Ty-D-Bol Blue Tyrone Power UK Guardian Un Chien Andalou Under the Volcano Unexpected Shiny Things University of Massachusetts Press University of New Mexico Press University of Notre Dame Press University of Wisconsin Press Until I Find You Up in the Air Ursula Le Guin UW Bookstore Hilldale Val Lewton Vampyr Verse Vera Farmiga Verse Wisconsin Vertigo Vicky Cristina Barcelona Victory Lap video technology Vietnam War Vincent Van Gogh Vote Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court April 5 2011 W.E.B. Du Bois Wag the Dog Walden West Walk Awhile in My Autism Walter Benjamin Walter Berglund Weird Tales Wells Tower Wendy Vardaman Weshoyot Alvitre What's Up With Your Brother? What Did Jesus Do? Where You're All Going Wiggle Room wiki for Infinite Jest Wikus van der Merwe Will Blythe William Cashion William Faulkner William Lindsay Gresham William Maxwell William T. Vollmann Wisconsin Wisconsin Book Festival Wisconsin labor protests Wisconsin literature Wisconsin People & Ideas Wisconsin People & Ideas 2017 Writing Contest Wisconsin poetry Wisconsin politics Wisconsin State Journal Wisconsin writing Writers from the Other Europe WTDY X.J. Kennedy Award X. J. Kennedy Award for Creative Nonfiction Yellow Sky Yuma fourteen Yuri Trifonov Zapruder film Zbigniew Cybulski Zora Neale Hurston