The party goes global...

Free counters!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Thinner Than Skin reviewed in Dawn

As promised, here is the review in Pakistan's Dawn newspaper of the lovely and talented Uzma Aslam Khan's newest novel, Thinner Than Skin. It's mostly positive, and you can safely disregard the very few negative murmurings uttered from time to time...

"Written in fine, eclectic prose, exploring identity and insecurity, the narrative searches for illicit happiness that is taken away for reasons that are never clearly defined or understood. Khan can be openly candid about the act of loving as a transitory pleasure but refuse her reader reasons for why relationships break down or people drift away without explanation or remorse. Plenty of fiction is about love, about lust, about wanting control over another, but in her brilliant story of 'Ice, Mating' (first published as an extract in Granta 112: Pakistan, 2010) you will find her interest. 'What is the most beautiful thing you ever witnessed?' she’d ask, as we lay together … I said it was the mating of glaciers."

Well, that sounds fairly glowing... even if I don't really know what "eclectic prose" is. Must be something good though.

The whole review can be found here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dawn interview with Uzma

Just in case you need further evidence that I am in fact married to the coolest gal on the planet, I present to you this interview with Uzma Aslam Khan, conducted by Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.

"I’ve never mapped out a novel. I don’t really trust maps, because the lines change as soon you find them. As if the form of a novel itself demands that you stay open to change, open to surprises."

You can find the complete interview here.

Tomorrow I'll post the review of Thinner Than Skin from Dawn's Books & Authors section.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Oh, well.

Nice job, Ravens. Good luck in the Super Bowl.

And now, in deference to people who don't care about it, I will stop talking about football.

Till next year anyway.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

90 minutes till the AFC championship game...

...and you know the guy (or gal) who owns this car is going to be watching. Snapped at a parking lot in Holyoke, MA, December 2012.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A bit of landmark...

Take a look at the visitor counter on the right-hand sidebar... Underneath the swirling globe that tells where you're visiting from... and you'll see that since starting this blog back in October 2007, I've now surpassed 50,000 hits. That's an amazing thing.

I started this blog mainly as a platform to try to publicize my soon-to-be-released fourth book, Monster, 1959, but it quickly evolved into a means of talking about more or less whatever came into my head--bands I discovered and liked, old movies I re-watched, bits of internet trivia, stuff about Uzma's books, and so on.

I had no particular plan for where it would go or how it would evolve--or even whether it would last past the next post. There were times when I posted new stuff almost every day, and times when I barely posted anything at all. Certainly there have been some thin stretches where I've posted little or nothing for months on end, and I'm sure some people lost interest. I don't blame them.

Now, almost five and a half years after starting, I'm happy to say that this blog is pretty much a part of my daily (or at least, several-time-per-week) routine. I can't say that I have any more of a grand vision for where it's heading than I had five years ago;, though. It will probably be more of the same: stuff about my books and my so-called career; stuff about Uzee's books; stuff about bands and records and movies that I like; occasional political rants; and from time to time, a more ambitious essay on whatever crosses my mind.

And in case you're wondering: the most popular entry I ever posted, by a mile, was this one about Game of Thrones. With over 5000 hits, this single essay accounts for 10% of all traffic to this site. Which is either awesome, or scary, depending on your point of view. Good thing I like the show... Maybe I should write another article.

Anyway, regardless of whether I write more Game of Thrones essays, I hope you'll stick around for the ride over the next few years. Cheers.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Don't Open That Door! is back...

...with installment #25, my appreciation of the 1959 Vincent Price vehicle The Tingler. And what a great movie it is, notwithstanding the fact that it makes very little sense, which you'll see if you read the column here.

For those of you who aren't aware, Don't Open That Door! is my weekly column over at, in which I affectionately skewer 1950s monster and sci-fi movies. A fun time is had by all, regardless of whether or not you're familiar with the movies under review.

And, if you click the Facebook Like button or the Tweet button or the G+ button (or whichever your prefer--Reddit and StumbleUpon and so forth), you will help to ensure that I can keep on writing these little columns, as it wil convince my editors that I have some sort of following... So thanks for that.

My assessment of The Tingler begins thus:

"Vaguely effeminate Dr. Warren (you can tell he’s a scientist by his accent, and besides, he looks—and sounds—a lot like Vincent Price) keeps himself busy by cutting people up during autopsies, looking for some physical sign of the fear response felt just before death. Not finding anything, he posits that the act of screaming must destroy this mysterious critter—which he has nicknamed “the tingler”—and so he despairs of ever getting his mitts on one. After all, everybody can scream, right? Soon afterward, he meets a guy named Ollie whose wife is deaf and dumb—that is, she can’t hear or talk. Or, um, scream. Interested, Doctor?"

There's much more, including some nifty stills and a YouTube clip, all of which can be found here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Righteous review of Uzma's new book

And the reviews just keep ticking along...

This one is from a blog that shadows the Man Asian Prize and hence reviews each of the 15 books on the longlist. The reviewer is quite gushing, which is nice, although there are some spoilers here... Can't be helped I suppose, and it's the result of an excess of enthusiasm so it's tough to get too annoyed. As for the aforementioned enthusiasm, check this out:

"Dealing with themes of forgiveness and revenge—base human emotions that we all experience, Thinner Than Skin is a layered, complex and mature novel from a writer at the height of her powers. It is perfectly constructed, both structurally and thematically, devoid of unnecessary words and ideas. Khan is in control of the language she uses to tell her story, leaving the reader blown away both by the power of the English language to describe both the natural and the internal."

Woo-hoo! Now that's pretty nice. Clearly this fellow has been paying attention, so let's hope he has the ear of the Prize committee. (Which he does not, actually. I know that. I'm just funnin' ya, as my father used to say...)

For more about the book, check out its Amazon page.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Toronto Star praises Thinner Than Skin

Regular readers of The Party Never Stops -- yeah,  both of you -- will perhaps have noticed that I've been publicizing the man good notices that the lovely and talented Uzma Aslam Khan has been receiving for her latest novel, Thinner Than Skin. Well, there's a fine reason for this, which is that Thinner Than Skin has been generating a fair bit of press, most of it very positive indeed, and I feel compelled to let people know about it.

The latest in this trend comes courtesy of The Toronto Star, which published this review a couple of days ago. It's favorable, although it seems less interested in the book itsekf and more interested in the circumstances in Pakistan which are reflected in the book. Okay, whatever. And by the way, there's a factual error: The story does not take place in Swat valley, but in Kaghan. 

Despite that, the reviewer has nice things to say. For example: "Thinner Than Skin has elements of quest, thriller, love story and legend, with unconventional characters..." I agree with this, as I also agree when the reviewer says that "as with her earlier books ... Khan continues to explore new territory, both geographic and literary." Can't argue with that, either. Thanks, Toronto.

Friday, January 4, 2013

IDEA CITY: Great name for a fun blog...

So I've never heard of IDEA CITY, but it appears to be the blog of one Catherine Stine, who has a fun entry about the books she gave people for Christmas. Included on this list is (ahem) An Age of Madness, which she gave "to my sister-in-law, interested in psychology and biology." So there you go. Fingers crossed that the sis-in-law was duly impressed.

Thanks, Catherine.

Meanwhile, I have been rocking out to the Euro-African fusion sounds of JuJu, whose album In Trance is a smoking-hot collaboration between a Gambiam ritti player and a British guitarist. The ritti is a kind of one-string fiddle used in West African music; it's basically the solo instrument that plays over the guitars and drums as they bask away, and oh man, these guys rawk.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy 2013

And nope, this ain't Hawaii anymore.


Still cool though.