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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Evenson, Brian: The Open Curtain

  Amazon  

3.5 stars

Brian Evenson's The Open Curtain is an unusual and disquieting book. The story is told in three parts. In the first, awkward and impressionable high-schooler Rudd Theurer falls under the influence of his illegitimate half-brother Lael. Once under his brother's spell, Rudd begins to act erratically--or perhaps Lael's influence merely coincides with Rudd's descent. We watch as Rudd becomes increasingly divorced from reality, and increasingly fixated on a story he's researched for school, the 1902 murder of a certain Anna Pulitzer by William Hooper Young, Brigham Young's grandson. (The crime is historical, and Evenson includes news reports from the period in his narrative.) Hooper Young's murder was tied up with Mormonism, and Mormon practices are important to Rudd's story as well.

In the second and third parts of the book Rudd's insanity is even more pronounced. He suffers increasingly from blackouts, engaging in actions he is subsequently unable to recall. Much of Evenson's story is told from Rudd's perspective. Because of the gaps in his understanding, we are likewise left in the dark about much of what's happening.

To an extent, because of these lacunae, reading the book is a frustrating experience. We leave the story not completely sure of what was real and what imagined. Nor are we sure to what degree blame for whatever happened should attach to Rudd as opposed to Lael. Reading the book, then, is not exactly a pleasant experience. Yet the author does a good job of suggesting events through the hazy focus of Rudd's point of view. It feels like we're watching a madman's actions from the inside out. It's not fun, but it's an impressive feat.

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