Former five-term congressman and current local resident Robert J. Mrazek ’67, now an award-winning author, released his 12th novel this week: “The Dark Circle.” The triller, set in a fictional version of Ithaca, weaves in factual details about Upstate New York.
Heidi Heilig’s new book, For a Muse of Fire pulls the reader into a vibrant, lush world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism. The story follows Jetta Chantray, a young Chakran shadow player of the Ros Nai troupe, as she and her family strive to win passage to Aquitan, the home of the Aquitan emperor and a spring rumored to cure madness. But Jetta’s malheur, her madness, is only one of the secrets she keeps. Jetta has the ability to slip souls into new skins, and in a world still haunted by the brutality of the mad nécromancien Le Trépas, the old ways have been abolished, punishable by death or worse. Heilig weaves a complex tale, balancing the powers of colonization, rebellion and a family caught in between.
There’s nothing I hate more than a mediocre movie. As weird as it may sound, bad movies are usually fun to watch through a critical lens. There are far more usable synonyms for “bad” than for “meh.” I’ve come to love the Transformers and Fast and Furious franchises because they make it easy for me to exercise my growing superiority complex. However, when faced with a truly middle of the road film, I’m faced with a dilemma. If I like it too much, I’ll lose credibility as a “critic.” On the other hand, if I like it too little I get told I’m being negative for the sake of being negative.
Mohsin Hamid’s latest novel Exit West tells the compelling story of migrants Saeed and Nadia as they face the challenges of a nameless country in the midst of civil war. In fleeing their country, the couple passes through Greece, England and the United States and face literal and psychological obstacles on their way. Hamid successfully penned a novel regarding a pertinent topic with an anonymity that appeals to human experiences of abandonment and cultural detachment that explicate the migrant experience to his readers. Through simple but poignant prose, Hamid spins a tale of anxiety and hope that is equally engaging and humbling. Mohsin Hamid is an internationally bestselling author and essayist who is known for tackling topics that shake global social and political spheres.