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I have new reviews of novels by Benjamin Black (John Banville), Haruki Murakami and Joyce Carol Oates and a posthumous collection of essays by Italo Calvino.

From the Calvino review:
"It’s easy to determine when a writer is monomaniacal. All one has to do is determine whether he or she is working backwards from a pre-determined conclusion. But because intellectuals are intelligent and are aware of countervailing trends and contrary evidence that might tend to vitiate that conclusion, they are guilty of an even worse sin than mere propagandizing, which is to say insincerity. As Aldous Huxley famously observed, 'Defined in psychological terms, a fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt.'

These 'secret doubts' are precisely what our mini-Menckens and assorted other polemicists ought to be confronting and exploring, rather than suppressing or insincerely rationalizing away as they too often do. 'Truth,' as La Rochefoucauld pointed out in his Maxims, 'does not do as much good in the world as the semblance of truth does evil.' It’s this persuasive simulacrum of truth that is the single-minded thinker’s greatest failing."

The foreword and second chapter of my memoir, Searching for the Seagull Motel, is now available here.

I am pleased to discover that my articles about all five books I reviewed as part of my short-lived column, Afterwords (which I described as “a fresh look at some unfairly neglected books of the past century that may not survive much longer in this one”) appear at or very near the top of the Google results when you search for the books in question. Thus, in my very small way, I hope I am playing a role in defining and maintaining the reputation of these overlooked books into the 21st Century. The five articles discussed The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage; The Collected Poems of Conrad Aiken; The Log From the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck; The Night Country by Loren Eiseley; and All the Little Live Things by Wallace Stegner.

Contact me at michaelantman@yahoo.com.



Michael Antman is the author of the novel Cherry Whip (ENC Press, 2004), described by reviewers as “a terrific and fascinating character study,” “moving and sexy and funny in fresh ways,” “humane and warm,” “a great tragicomedy,” and “a marvelous novel.”

He is a staff writer and book reviewer for the leading online arts and culture magazine, PopMatters, and also has written book reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times. He was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s Balakian Award for Excellence in Reviewing in 2008 and in 2009.

In addition to his reviews, he writes a regular column on the art of the memoir and non-fiction narrative called Read Only Memory, and also writes on DVDs, music, digital culture and the future of the book, and other topics.

As a long-time marketing consultant and president of the consulting firm McSweeney & Antman, he conducted branding, positioning and marketing analyses; and created print, Internet, radio and television advertising campaigns; print and electronic collateral; and video productions on behalf of many of America’s leading corporations.

One of his film projects, Coming Through the Storm, a documentary he researched and wrote on behalf of the National Association of Independent Insurers, covered the same geographic area and some of the same subject matter as Seagull Motel. The film won many awards, including the Silver Trumpet Award, Chicago Publicity Club; the Silver Star Award, IASC; Second Place, Houston International Film Festival; and Second Place, New York Film Festival.

He is a former vice-president of Arkidata Corporation, and also spent two and a half years in Japan, where he conducted cross-cultural training and wrote a monthly column on business English in the form of a fictionalized serial for a major Japanese business publication.

He currently is Vice President of Global Marketing for a Fortune 500 corporation.

He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and also attended Oxford University.