"Frantic Transmissions to and From Los Angeles: An Accidental Memoir," by Kate Braverman (Graywolf, $15).
"Did I say that my work has been translated into Turkish? Apparently, it will be read in Istanbul, but not in Los Angeles."
Yes, Kate Braverman did say that in a telephone conversation from her new home in San Francisco. On more than one occasion, in fact, she mentioned this, digressing, ranting, in as polite a rant as possible, that she is merely "referenced" in Los Angeles, where she grew up and lived much of her adult life. The references have even taken on a funereal character.
Despite apparently being characterized by the Los Angeles Times a year or so ago as "the late, legendary Kate Braverman," despite coincidentally bearing the same last name as the deceased character in Sidney Lumet's film, "Bye Bye, Braverman," Kate Braverman, 55, author of the underground classic, "Lithium for Medea," three other novels, countless anthologized short stories and now a new "accidental memoir" titled, "Frantic Transmissions to and from Los Angeles," is anything but dead. "Frantic Transmissions" has just been published by Graywolf Press, a small, literary press in Minnesota, which awarded her its first-ever nonfiction prize for this latest effort.
The world lost one of its great comic artists last month. I am referring not to Johnny Carson, who was little known outside of the United States, but to Israeli satirist Ephraim Kishon, 80, who, although little known in America, was beloved around the world.
Daniel Handler looks like a character in one of his own "Lemony Snicket" novels. At a breakfast interview with The Journal at a New York café, he wears a pinstriped suit with a handkerchief in the pocket -- reminiscent of something the bumbling Mr. Poe might wear when he deposits the unfortunate Baudelaire orphans at the home of a relative who wants to kill them and collect their fortune. In repose and in photographs, Handler's face turns dole, as if, like Snicket, he is turned melancholy by the events he narrates.
7 Days In The Arts
"What the graphic novel has done is make it clear we're dealing with an art form," said Maggie Thompson, editor of Comics Buyer's Guide.
7 Days In The Arts
Over the last year, I have read many wonderful novels: "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold, "Atonement" by Ian McEwan, "The Hours" by Michael Cunningham. Well-written, emotionally resonant, all best-sellers, these highly praised literary works are required reading in book groups in Los Angeles and across the nation. Yet as excellent as they were, as one critic said of "Schindler's List": "There weren't that many laughs."
By contrast, "Tepper Isn't Going Out" by Calvin Trillin delivers more pleasure, more belly laughs per page than any other work in recent memory.
In a key scene in "Masterpiece Theatre's" "Daniel Deronda," adapted from George Eliot's 1876 novel, the hero attends a Zionist meeting.
Jewish books are hot these days.