The “Russian” Civil Wars 1916-1926, Jonathan D. Smele, presents a fascinating subject. But it seems written in a language that has endings for specific congregations for its verbs and with many declensions for its nouns – languages like Russian, German or Latin.

The strength of English prose is verbs, actions directing nouns. Most well-written books and articles recognize this rule. Verbs are close to subjects; no one ever loses sight of that combination, or the purpose for which noun-verb was used. If a writer likes to discourse in a sentence, go on and on for 70 – 100 -120 words, an English sentence better have parallel structures. Logic dictates it. (It’s not the logic of the language, but logic – premise, minor premise, conclusion)

In Mein Kampf the translator observes,  

…mixed metaphors are just as mixed in one language as in the other

other. A lapse of grammatical logic can occur in any language. An

English language Title might be just a redundant as the German one;…

No non-German would write such labyrinthine sentences…I have

cut down the sentences only when the length made them unintelligible

in English…

The substantives are a different matter. Here it has been necessary

to make greater changes, because in many cases the use of verbal nouns

is singly incompatible with the English language…Hitler’s piling up of

substances is bad German, but the fact remains that numerous German

writers do the same thing, while this failing is almost non-existence in


…much German prose, some not of thee worst quality, around in…

useless little words: wohl, ja, denn, schon, noch, eigentlich, etc. Hitler’s

sentences are …clogged with particles, not to mention such private

favorites as besonders and damals which he strews about…needlessly.

His particles have a certain political significance, for in the petit

bourgeois mind they are, like carved furniture, an embodiment of the

home-grown German virtues, while their avoidance is viewed with

suspicion as foreign and modernistic.

[Translator’s note, Mein Kampf, Boston, Mariner Books, 1999, p. xi-xii.]

Parenthetical words and terms at the beginning of an English sentence, or at the end, or sometimes the middle indicated by the use of parentheses indicate a lack of writing skills.

Let’s observe one demonstration: 

On the contrary, the events that took place in the period from

around  1989 to 1991 and their volcanic reverberations across

the former Soviet space have very greatly enriched, necessitated

and energized historical investigations, as they have made it

unchallengeably clear that any approach to the “Russian” Civil

War that places the Red and White struggle within the matrix too

starkly in its foreground is missing the point.

[Smele, The “Russian” Civil War 1916-1926, N.Y. Oxford, 2017, p. 6]

There’s a lot to chew on in that one sentence. The following sentences present a lot of gristle and fat, also. I noted this sentence was in the INTRODUCTION, and believed getting to Chapter One would break up and provide good sailing.

Alas, the first sentence of Chapter One reads, 

Despite what has already been noted above, the is also a very

strong case for the dating of outbreak of the “Russian” Civil War

on the extensive anti-Russian uprising in Central Asia during the

summer of 1916, as a large number of the tsar’s Muslim subjects,

in a rebellion that anticipated the Basmachi movement, resisted

the forced mobilization into labor battalions to serve the Russian

army and the armaments industry (although this was the most

overt assault on local sensibilities that had been repeatedly

affronted by the waves of non-Muslim settlers that had been moving

into the region for a half century.)

[IBID, p. 17.]

Note the hesitancy to tell anything in the text which is further emphasized by the third sentence of that same paragraph beginning with Moreover and goes on for 100 words or so; the last sentence begins with Thus. Blue pencil it all! Also note, the book defines the Busmachi movement as a term for Muslim bandits during Soviet times. This sentence attempts to expand and explain incidences in the nineteenth century as well as those occurring, perhaps at late as 1980.

The usual manner of writing history or even fiction is for a non-writer to write chronologically. This writer decides to put a flashback into parentheses while using Soviet terms indicating more recent events. The outcome is a whole series of unexplained events of one hundred fifty years.

I wanted to learn of the “Russian” Civil War, its battles, the philosophy, its politics, and how its effects might survive today. But reading such diversion makes the story overly complicated, suggests portions of that war arose from local circumstances, and demonstrates the historian does not have a the big picture in his head clearly. He could not communicate much. The writing reminded me of translator’s note from Mein Kampf.  

P.S. One way Hermann Boell was taught to write was editing Mein Kampf, editing to a third of its length. The text was readable. I believe The “Russian” Civil War could benefit from the same treatment and be vastly improved.



Tonight, the TV show The Good Fight airs. The description of tonight’s program reads, Lawyers Maia Ricdell and Diane Lockhart join one of Chicago’s preeminent law firms after a financial scam destroys Maia’s reputation.

Only on Wall Street, in California, in Hollywood and on TV can anyone be promoted after the reputation is blown to smithereens. If an attorney’s reputation is destroyed by fraud or scandalous acts, they become private investigators or security people, unless they’re hired by Don Trump.

As the program airs look for gut-wrenching moments when the producers try to concoct Catch Me If You Can moments, plus Maia attempts to regain reputation by giving lollipops to babies or by helping previously scammed old ladies, cross the street.


Recent grade-B scientific films present sets which seem a step away from funky main streets of small town America today. Instead of the barber’s pole, there is a pole with a half dozen round plastic platters, like multiple serving areas for kids to NBA players. That was futuristic during the Sixties, and it dates and looks odd today. But the incongruity fits in a science fiction movie: everyone can recognize what it is but like a barber’s pole, no one know what it means.

Next to see on the screen are the race and ethnicity of people. Any film company should have its characters from various places show up in semi-native festive garb. That happens in California usually. It is difficult to know whether someone is in the United States military or with the LAPD. She may be going to a costume party. Ditto, putting these people on a movie set while filming a science fiction flick. The languages present a wild, crazy, different sound tract.

No change has to be made when asking characters to speak, not American but their first language. The misunderstandings today are brief and small. In the future it may be impossible to cross the street without knowing five languages.

A few movies have used the present day to project a futuristic society. This presents a step, an advancement reflecting a truer future than any other show. For instance the future is unlikely to be anything like The Jepsens. In the cartoon there are just too few people, too many open spaces and isolated houses abound. It is likely that houses will be owned and sold in 100 years, but honey-combed constructions of apartments, condominiums and town houses are what most of the human race will live in. It is call urbanization. There will be too many of us: From caves we came, to caves we will return

Science fiction movies rarely show the current press of human existence or what that will be in the future – close quarters, get off my back! In the movies this point can only be inferred by how many human beings are killed and by whom. Undoubtedly, the protagonist feels totally bad when a human being is smoked – less so if a droid dies. Deaths of druids evoke different emotions. After the first human beings are extinguished, death gets easier, and everyone becomes desensitized. It does not matter how many characters are killed, provided the protagonist and his brawny, brainless hunk survive as the only persons on earth, there to watch the sun rise – a new day on the planet to begin again and the human race will avoid all the mistakes it made the last time.

Are you voting for Don Trump, or Hillary Clinton?

The prospects for over-population movies are narrow. Everyone knows the likely solution, and human beings don’t like that. Everyone also dislikes solution number two: Don Trump and HRC survive and …


Jason Patric

The Limney in a similar setting, upscale LA – tells a similar story. Bad guy, James Caan is running an identify theft scam to fleece the system and millions of people of small amounts of money.

British father, Craig Fairbrass (needs to project his voice) learns his daughter, Caan’s software engineer, is killed in LA. Father arrives and learns the dead woman is not his daughter. Where is the girl? As Fairbrass looks, he destroys half of LA like Godzilla might.

He finds his daughter and learns of the fraud. He, the daughter and friends can rip off Caan, which provides action for the final act. This is a low budget movie. In fight scenes one can see fists being thrown and missing, but the actors react as though being hit. At the end Caan is shot and like in the olden days, there is no blood. I kept wondering, when is he going to start bleeding! [After the toll booth shooting James Caan may have no blood in him.]

It is always welcome to see Jason Patric in a movie. As the lead detective he and the cops don’t have much to do, except saying, Get the judge and his sorry butt out of bed, to sign warrants. With another story about the ever-growing seedy side of LA, the police presence could be dispensed with altogether.

SKYFALL – James Bond

Fortunately, I saw this movie yesterday. Fortunately, I saw it at home where I could do other things while it played on the TV screen. Fortunately, I did not pay a penny; I checked out the DVD from the public library.

Most Bond movies have the hero on a mission or missions, accompanied by beautiful babes who assist or otherwise engage James. The game between the producer and audience is do something ephemeral, spectacular and exciting and lead the audience to the empty, impossible over-the-top climax. Spycraft be damned. It is pure entertainment pumped up by special effects.

But in Skyfall, there is a lot of dull and dead time. I don’t want to see a babe shave James Bond’s beard. I want quips, hormones and hands moving before body-on-body action! The audience has been James Bond be tested and recertified to “00” status, albeit with other actors, Pierce Brosnan and Sean Connery. At the end of Sean’s retesting, he has a fight with a very large killer whom he disables with a beaker of his own urine before killing the enemy beast. That fight scene is memorable. In Skyfall the retesting is done straight and long, as though the producers were making the hero, Henry V facing death.

James Bond will never be more than a fake, fantasy character doing incredible, indescribable feats. Keep James Bond in that segement of the box office.

The story of “Skyfall” involves an equally incredible, fantastic bad guy, a former brilliant MI-6 agent (mid-fifties) who’s mastered computers, software programing, electrical engineering and everything else about the technical world and how it works. He manages to evade customs, passport, police and security controls and agencies world-wide, much better than Matt Damon did as Jason Bourne. He attacks the Houses of Parliament (I figure that’s where a Parliamentary investigation is being held). He causes the destruction of part of the London underground with a bomb.

I only only surmise the British were asking themselves, What is to be done? It’s time for tea. Bond figures out: “We have to get ahead of this guy.” (I’ve heard that statement on American TV crime shows many times.) Apparently Bond was the only guy in Britain who thought so, and the whole country follows his plan: Don’t lay an ambush. Go into the wilds alone, virtually unarmed.

My advice to James Bond is, Don’t try to play it straight.



This movie is a satire. The setting is the wedding of a heavy-set woman. She invites three attractive, fashionable friends from high school; there is a sense of high school reunions combining with the downside of wedding preparations and parties.

The satire is about the three women (Dunst, Fisher and Caplan) who act like they are still in middle school. At a moment of sadness Dunst says, “I did everything right. I went to college. I exercise. I eat like a normal person. My boyfriend is in medical school.” She is lost in life. Caplan asks, “Are you all right?” “No, I’m fucking miserable.” All three women acting as girls are inept at human relationships, sad and unhappy.

Their conversation is juvenile. Their actions are juvenile. Their reactions are juvenile. Their judgment is absent. A seamstress is sorely needed; they run around until Fisher says, “I can sew.” But she is too wasted.

The men in the movie are surprisingly grown up and likable. The groom likes his bride-to-be. Fisher’s man was a high school classmate: She copied his French homework but only remembers she sold her pot. He refuses to sleep with her because she’s wasted: “You can’t remember my name.” The other women get unthinking sex, and one guy is in love again (previous high school romance went sour). 

The movie is less about lines, put-downs, and sit-com set-ups, it’s tone, and mostly about 30 year-olds trying to be young forever. Ageless youth of no maturing – The Portrait of Dorian Gray. The three women have avenues to escape youth. Whether they do leave is likely the stories of several dramas.


Editors: Robert Appelbaum, John Wood Sweet

This is not a Valentines Day post. 

What were the English thinking when they commenced exploration and colonization of the New World, @ 1575-1630?

The 12 well-referenced essays in this book present a fresh perspective on many issues. Some issues are resolved. For instance, reports from the early Jamestown settlement (1608) complained of hunger and starvation. English and Native American ideas of eating differed. The English were becoming civilized – meals at set times during the day. The Native Virginians ate what nature served. When food was plentiful, they feasted and gorged; when food was scarce they went hungry but didn’t complain. Englishmen did not like the hunger spells endured by the native Virginians. The English figured they were starving; many got sick and died.

There are essays on landholding and titles; investigations into specific sources which mislead students today; a description of John Smith’s 1612 map of Virginia as thought it were a literary production; English relations with the Turks and Moroccans; Grace O’Malley, Irish female entrepreneur and pirate, and her meeting with Elizabeth; and many references to Elizabethan and Jacobian literature, drama and poetry…when they refer to issues involving colonization – political, sociological and economic. 

This book is heavy lumber. The essays are well-written and packed. I could not read it fast; I could not read much of it during a day. But the challenge of reading was enjoyable. I can read law, (land titles) which I went through quickest – I don’t need to know much more of that stuff. But there are many essays to stir the imagination in a subject matter foreign to many readers.


The the Lighthouse            Virginia Woolf

A current fad among those promoting the conventional wisdom is to embrace Virginia Woolf as an excellent, significant writer. Trying to read this novel and stopping, I know anyone with intelligence and reading comprehension knows it is a shame they let Virginia die a natural death.

The writing in To the Lighthouse is very undisciplined. Voices of the author and Mrs. Ramsey mix; the characters are not well presented. The novel is in need of severe editing. Virginia needs to learn English punctuation and grammar and avoiding using parentheses.

I finished the first chapter of To the Lighthouse. I had bought the paperback for a buck. I got to the end and saw that Chapter 2 was six (6) lines long. Chapter 3 hard at the writing was longer. To learn whether the novel involved alternating long/short chapters, I went through Chapter 3 and discovered another discontented reader. The corner of the first page of Chapter 4 had been turned down, to serve as a bookmark. From the condition of the remaining pages and the binding, the reader who owned the book before me had stopped reading at the end of Chapter 3.

Chapter 1 is impossible. Mrs. Ramsey says to her son: “Yes, of course, if it is fine tomorrow.” The kid wants to go outside and play.

Rather than stick to the weather, the author prefers whether and evaluates the boy’s reaction:

“Since he belonged, even at the age of six, to that great clan which cannot keep this feeling separate from that, but must let future prospects, with their joys and sorrows, cloud what is actually at hand, since to such people even in earliest childhood any turn of the wheel of sensation has the power to crystalize and transfix the movement upon which its gloom or radiance rests, James Ramsey, sitting on the floor cutting out pictures from the illustrated catalogue of the Army and Navy Stores, endowed the pictures of a refrigerator as his mother spoke with heavenly bliss.”

This is a hell of a sentence, but other than letting her son go outside tomorrow, Mrs. Ramsey said nothing. She did not speak – there are no quotation marks, a sure sign. I don’t know where the “heavenly bliss” came from, but I know no one said anything approaching that description. Inside the writing of the sentence are disjointed, unconnected clauses and phrases tossed together to extend its length but detracting from its meaning and impact. In fact incomprehensibility seems to be the purpose of the sentence: The longer it is the more meaningless it becomes, and the more profound critics of FOV (Friends of Virginia) can claim it to be. Thereby a novel of such sentences is a work of genius. HOWEVER, beneath all the words from the sentence are two thoughts: The boy is excited and delighted; he can go outside tomorrow. And, Mrs. Ramsey is mentally ill.

Mr. Ramsey speaks next: “It won’t be fine [tomorrow].” Summarizing from there to the end of that paragraph: Mrs. Ramsey wants to kill Mrs. Ramsey. He is forcefully opinionated. He has crossed her, albeit about tomorrow’s weather. But what he said was true. The children detest him after Mrs. Ramsey’s input.

The next paragraph Mrs. Ramsey sticks to her guns: “But it may be fine – I expect it will be fine.” This paragraph next dwells partially on “…how would you like to be shut up for a whole month at a time, and possibly more in stormy weather, upon a rock the size of a tennis lawn? she would ask, and to have no letters or newspapers, and to see nobody, if you were married…”etc., etc., etecera! 

I note this paragraph uses no quotation marks, as well a few periods. Perhaps the author needed a typewriter in good repair, one that had the keys controlling periods and quotation marks in good working order.

From a blurb on the back of the book, I gather this story takes place during the summer. A month or longer in the house – NONSENSE! Most of this wandering paragraph is immaterial, irrelevant and incompetent; it is filled with invented fears and other mysteries haunting Mrs. Ramsey. BEFORE SUBMITTING, EDIT THE DAMN STORY, VIRGINIA!

A house guest pipes up in the next paragraph, reporting the wind is “due west.” Mrs. Ramsey is egregiously upset about this observation, but either she [or the author] denigrate him: Tansley is “an atheist.”

Finally the atheist clarifies the point a few paragraphs later: “There will be no landings at the Lighthouse tomorrow.” This is a grave insult to Mrs. Ramsey. In one of her [or the author’s] paragraphs, it says, atheist “was such a miserable person…He couldn’t play cricket…” Obviously, this house guest is completely unstable and totally unreliable.

Mrs. Ramsey rejoins the God-gainsayer: “Nonsense.” Not only does Mrs. Ramsey want to kill her husband because he disagrees with her about tomorrow’s weather, but she can’t tell which way the wind is blowing. “Indeed,” [the author or Mrs. Ramsey]

“she had the whole of the other sex sex under her protection; for reasons she could not explain, for their chivalry and valor, for the act that they negotiated treaties, ruled India, controlled finance; finally for an attitude toward herself which no woman could fail to feel or find agreeable, something trustful, childlike, reverential; which an old woman would take from a young man without loss of dignity, and woe betide the girl – pray Heaven it was none of her daughters! – who did not feel the worth of it, and all that it implied, to the marrow of her bones.”

In the paragraphs that follow Mrs. Ramsey and the author restate their opinions of life in the house, the Bank of England and the Indian Empire. Admittedly, Mrs. Ramsey states that she cares for her daughter, but whether the weather be fine or foul, the son can play outside, come hell or high water. Mrs. Ramsey’s attitude toward her son appears to be: (1) Tomorrow, you can play on the freeway. (2) What about traffic? Tomorrow you can play on the freeway if there is no traffic. (3) There is always traffic. Tomorrow you can play on the freeway if there is northbound traffic in the southbound lanes.

I know from the blurb on the back of the book proclaims, “Mrs. Ramsey is beautiful, dominate and generous. Her power is gentle but irresistible.” I don’t see these qualities except as they are firmly imbedded in Mrs. Ramsey’s own mind but not in her speech, her behaviors, her thoughts or her attitudes.

I admit I cannot play cricket, and I see no lure in those matches. To the Lighthouse may be a distinctly British book about a peculiar woman, a very eccentric woman, am extremely odd woman. But To the Lighthouse carried the connotation that the lights are out and a shipwreck is inevitable.

In the end I believe I wrote a better description of the first few pages of To the Lighthouse than Virginia wrote in the first place.



GILEAD  Marilynne Robinson

Usually, I would not read Gilead, a preacher telling his family’s story. It is draped in religion and is set in a small Iowa community. But I read it, and learned something from the telling.

There are no chapters and only two sections. There are a few hundred incidences. The telling of this story is in the form of an oral history. If a parent or grandparent were telling the story of the family, Gilead represents how that elder might tell: Incident here, reminder of that, this doesn’t necessarily follow but is interesting, the next thing, where was I in the story? Gilead is not chronological, but the telling is pleasing because the reader goes from incidents to more incidents, gaining insights along the way along with some learning.

The telling is by an educated man and the story stays close to that character’s roots – religion. If there be a drawback, the doses of religion and faith, undoubtedly supporting the story with biblical passages, whether noted or not, provide a foundation for the story. There is the family – the audience for this testament – the community and church members. Few names are given, as though confidences are kept. Instead, the setting and way of life imparts the demands, life’s work and worth, on the preacher-narrator. In many ways Gilead is about the preacher’s hope that future generations will learn, will hear his confession and will realize his shortcomings, all a reconciliation and realization he never had with his father. In some ways religion can seem repetitive, but in the style of oral history, some repetition should be expected.

I noted I would not usually read a book like Gilead. In my life I’ve read some primary sources. The Confessions of St. Augustine are overpowering. I’ve read some primary sources, and a lot of history about the development of Christianity and its sects, and some primary sources and sermons in those sects. [Waiting on the bookshelf to read it is Harnack, The History of Dogma, about the rise of Christianity.] Gilead has a historical component of telling the lives of its characters in the Mid-west, after the Civil War to the mid-1950s. Inside are few historical events to date anything. Again true to the character, the author sticks to religion. There are important events of faith, of his life and his family, but they have no time.

The fact that incidences and stories happened and will happen again without reference to time, makes Gilead eternal.  



VERONICA – Mary Gaitskill

Some snippets on the cover say this story is about beauty. There is much more: A realistic painting of life in the big city, and characters who cannot escape the whirl: Death, life, growing and maturing and love round the novel. 

The story is told by a young model for ten years of survival. She is beautiful but doesn’t know how to comprehend it, work with it and protect herself. Innocent and unaware she lets herself be abused, and that is the life in the big city, Paris and New York: One insult after another ending in terror and horror. The reader senses what happens in Paris is originally decadent whereas New York only produces simulation and derivation.

Beauty goes beyond a physical appearance, until the model feels ugly. As her boyfriend hits her trying to force her to admit she is beautiful, she sinks into the experience appearance has given her: living life can make a person, who is conscious, ugly. The reader understands that discouragements, insults and crudities started the abasement before the violence.  

The model remembers everything. Her memory is supported by literary devices. Gaitskill conceives motifs which she carries through the novel: Rigoletto, The worm goes in... These motifs suggest analogies, metaphors and allegories. Gaitskill tells the tale in lustrous language – the turn of the phrase, similes, metaphors or an unexpected noun. The language gains momentum as the reader creeps into the fright of life in New York. Life with her family is real. Having returned from Paris, the model staying with her parents, returns home for the evening: 

“I kissed Ed on the cheek and got out of the car. In the house sat my father, drinking beer and waiting for dinner. La Traviata was on the record player: I said hi and walked through the room. Sara was in the dining room, crouching an inch away from the TV straining the hear over the music. My mother was in the kitchen, stirring a fragrant pot. How I loved her. How I didn’t know…”(97)

An event in New York seem more fanciful: 

“When we came out, Nadia had moved on and the air of the room had changed like the sea in the wake of a great wave. All the little creatures and shells still stirred, fitful and chaotic. An oyster sweating in his cream-colored shell was talking into a microphone about something nobody could hear. A laughing blond bit of seaweed rolled against a scudding black-haired pebble and they slid down the wall, laughing. Patrick said, ‘Honey, let’s go…'” (175)

Readers might wish Gaitskill would jot down more sentences, but she doesn’t need them. She knows the rule about constructing imagery – economy, efficiency and less is more.

The language allows Gaitskill to shift the voice. The story becomes less of a telling of the model’s experience, struggles and growing. It slides to the model’s impressions of those things: The model stumbles and never finds love; Veronica lingers and dies of AIDS. But love and illness are combined: Veronica’s bi-sexual lover gave her AIDS, and yet Veronica describes the relationship with him, which would make any couple in marriage happy.

Because the model doesn’t see Veronica fade everyday, the reader can believe the model cannot relay the on-coming doom. Gaitskill chooses an easy foil to produce a crushing literary impression and an entertainment disapproval. The model goes to a club and hears a rock band. She realizes:  

“I drank and bit the rim of my plastic cup and lost myself in the music on the sound system. I had succeeded. I had become like this music. My face had been a note in a piece of continuous music that rolled over people while they talked and drank…No one remembers a particular note. No one remembers a piece of grass. But it does its part. I had done my part….    The band came on stage.” (209)

“The room was full of life that wanted forms to hold it [dandified feelings], and it wasn’t picky. Neither were we. We watched as if we were witnessing the preservation of a place in our collective heart – a place that had once been primary that we no longer knew what it was or where it was. And now we felt it: secret and tender, and with so many chambers…   There was Veronica alone in her apartment, locked in full engagement with forces the musicians lightly referred to. The song said nothing about any of them, but they were part of it anyway.” (210)

“…I wanted to tell her [Veronica] this. I wanted her to know that even though she was dying, she was still included in the story told by the music.” (211)

From her distended thinking, the model is returned to reality. Hearing the delight and sensations, Veronica says, “This isn’t a rock song, hon.” (211) 

Growing and maturing by experience is the most pitiful way of life. Throughout Veronica the model goes to jobs, goes out to eat, goes to clubs, drinks, does drugs and meets the wrong, unsavory people engaging in the same or similar activities. There is sex but no love anywhere, beyond a rock song and its collectivity. The model has seen much and lived the sad life of Benjamin Franklin’s aphorism: “Experience keeps a dear school, yet Fools will learn in no other.” Poor Richard’s Alamack. In the end the model has hepatitis. 

There need be no explanation why the model never avoids the desultory lifestyle. That is not the story. But within the story one senses that New Yorkers have pets, small dogs and cats, not only to have an animal to love, but also as an excuse to stay home and avoid the scene.

Parents may not like Veronica, but if they are conscious and aware, they know it represents reality. That world has only become more intense and detached. Veronica is a book for every teenage girl in America, filled with nothing in mind but dreams – marvels, glitter, beauty, wonders – to  read: In a few years the hounds of hell will be upon you – your body, your mind, your mental well being, your financial well being, your health. LIFE – Get ready for it. Beauty doesn’t protect you. Beauty makes you a target. Youth is gone with the first life experience.

An attempt to write about New York failed, yet it is assigned in most American high schools: The Great Gatsby which I previous reviewed, “Loathing Gatsby.” On literary merit, as a depiction of New York and as a reflection of society, Veronica should replace Gatsby as the book to read in high school. There is no character as weak and unreal in Veronica as Gatsby and Daisy are in Gatsby. Yes, Veronica is frank, detailed, obnoxious and objectionable. But what sort of literature do Americans want their children to read? Do Americans want their children to be educated to the world? Should American children know they can read, anticipate and be prepared? Literature can do that. Or should Americans take their dreaming daughters to the water and toss them in and watch them drown?

Veronica is a distaff book. The model activities and thoughts return her to her family. There is realization, understanding and reconciliation. The book ends with “I will call my father and tell him I finally heard him. I will be full of gratitude and joy.” But in the book the exploration for love by the model and by anyone else is incomplete, in the society reflected by the ersatz entertainments tearing participants and the audience apart.

There is no great explanation of what love is and how it should survive – perhaps living in New York with pets. What are men supposed to do? That answer seems carry an ample supply of condoms. Veronica presents a hopelessness about the state of love in society. Love needs a platform protected from the whirl. This is an issue that Americans can resolve.