Archives For Fame

 

Rodney Clapp Reviews Rick Bass’s Novel
NASHVILLE CHROME for BOOKS AND CULTURE

http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/webexclusives/2010/october/nashvillechrome.html

Who, in a world now so thoroughly constituted as a consumer culture, is not susceptible to the allures of fame? As Rick Bass’s new novel palpably demonstrates, certainly not Maxine Brown. Maxine was (and remains) the oldest of the three siblings that made up the Brown Family, a country music singing group successful in the late 1950s and early ’60s. The Browns pumped out a burst of hits that included “The Three Bells,” “I Take the Chance,” and “Money,” and for awhile kept pace with the brightly blazing production of a close friend of the family, one Elvis Presley.

Bass’ novelization of the Browns’ experiences is not a chronologically ordered, exhaustive retelling of their lives and career as a singing group. Instead, he gives us a series of set pieces that poignantly show the Browns (especially Maxine) in the ascent from poverty in the Arkansas woods to Nashville stardom, and then their abrupt retreat back into comparative obscurity. The book is also a fictional meditation on fame and its cruel vagaries.


Read the full review:
http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/webexclusives/2010/october/nashvillechrome.html

NASHVILLE CHROME: A Novel
Rick Bass.
Hardback:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  ,2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]


The NY TIMES review of
AMERICAN GRACE:  How Religion Divides and Unites Us
by Robert Putnam and David Campbell.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/books/review/Wright-t.html

At first glance, the authors of “American Grace” would seem to suffer from very bad timing. Between the completion of their manuscript and its publication, the dispute over the Islamic center in Lower Manhattan erupted, followed by the ­Koran-burning controversy, and somewhere along the way a New York cabdriver was stabbed, apparently for being a Muslim. All this gives a quaint air to their declaration, in the book’s first chapter, that “America peacefully combines a high degree of religious devotion with tremendous religious diversity.” And it seems to render moot one of their main goals: to illuminate the source of this inter­faith ­tolerance.

Actually, though, the story told in this book, by the social scientists Robert D. Putnam of Harvard and David E. Campbell of Notre Dame, is urgently relevant to the recent surge in interfaith tension.

True, America’s tradition of peaceful religious coexistence is largely about harmony among Christian denominations, and so doesn’t speak directly to the question of Islam’s place in America. But it’s also true that there was a time when many American Protestants viewed Roman Catholics no more charitably than a certain Pentecostal preacher in Florida views Muslims. In the 19th century, a Massachusetts convent was destroyed by anti-Catholic rioters, and civil unrest in Philadelphia — set off by rumors that Catholics wanted to rid the public schools of Bibles — led to some two dozen deaths and the destruction of two churches.


Read the full review:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/books/review/Wright-t.html

AMERICAN GRACE:
How Religion Divides and Unites Us
.
By Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell.
Hardback: Simon & Schuster, 2010.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]