Author Archives: Michael Backus

Over the Holes and Far Away

It’s hard to shake the feeling that Bruno from Michel Houellebecq’s The Elementary Particles could use a few ‘treatments’ at the Houses of Holes, the title spa of Nicholson Baker’s most recent book. Surely Bruno’s sexual self-loathing would find no … Continue reading

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Granny Was a Baller

First the obvious in this photograph of my grandmother (center, holding the ball) surrounded by her teammates: she played basketball, which I didn’t know until this photograph came to light while going through my father’s things after he died, and … Continue reading

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Joy is But the Shadow Pain Casts: The Elementary Particles

A friend had told me the last few pages of Houellebecq’s “The Elementary Particles” really flips everything and changes how you feel about the book and it’s true, if I’d skipped the Epilogue, I’m not sure where I might fall … Continue reading

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Franzen’s Freedom

With the bevy of “best of” year-end book lists appearing, I thought it time to re-visit Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom which seems to be the 800 pound gorilla in the collective room, either appearing on the list (see Salon’s editors’ picks, … Continue reading

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