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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Archive for the 'Menzies' Category

Memorable Miss Osborne

The first time I cried over a book

June 1st, 2016

BY GRANT MENZIES

To single out one book, any more than a whole library’s worth of them, as being of most influence on one’s development — as reader, writer, and human being — is like having to list your favorite kisses from an unforgettable lover. But I can simplify the process by counting on one hand the books which, read before age twenty, had such a powerful effect on me that the impressions remain vividly: Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind (which I found in my Southern grandmother’s house when I was eleven and read without stopping over the course of two days and a night); Zelda Fitzgerald’s Save Me the Waltz (the copy given to my mother by her analyst, who curiously thought Zelda’s unhappy story would make inspiring material for my mother’s own recovery from missosbornethemopa nervous breakdown); Ferdinand Mayr-Ofen’s The Tragic Idealist (a life of so-called Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria, which set me on course for studying and writing historical biographies and put me in love with the handsome young monarch pictured in the frontispiece); and Dame Rebecca West’s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (which, with West’s painter’s eye and composer’s ear for coloring and orchestrating ideas and images to produce breathtakingly beautiful moods and insights, had a huge influence on my own writing style).

Yet it was a children’s book, not quite fit for the above list of masterworks, that made the greatest, longest-lasting impression: Wilson Gage’s Miss Osborne-the-Mop.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Black Lamb Review of Books, Books and Authors, Menzies | Link to this Entry

Last torch of triumph

December 1st, 2004

BY GRANT MENZIES

We were living away from home by then, but that particular Christmas my brother and I decided to spend the holiday with our parents, for two cogent reasons: our maternal grandmother was to be there, serving as she always did as balm to the familial irritation we knew would spread faster than diaper rash; and our parents had finally bought a house in the country.

flamingxmastree.jpgIt sat on a hill above a valley that early Spanish explorers in our region of gold rush California gave the name “el Vallejo de las Vocas,” Valley of the Voices. That the valley certainly was: a haunted place, especially toward its upper hilly rims, from which even someone not paying attention could hear voices from a mile across the gorge as clearly as if they were emerging from the next room. And there were voices, too, that seemed to have no obvious source: strange cries and cracks and other unexplained aural phenomena that were probably just ordinary sounds magnified by the area’s sensitive natural acoustic but were still unnerving in a pleasurably shivery sort of way.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Christmas Issue, Menzies | Link to this Entry

Memorable Miss Osborne

June 1st, 2003

BY GRANT MENZIES

To single out one book, any more than a whole library’s worth of them, as being of most influence on one’s development — as reader, writer, and human being — is like having to list your favorite kisses from an unforgettable lover.

But I can simplify the process by counting on one hand the books which, read before age twenty, had such a powerful effect on me that the impressions remain vividly: Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind (which I found in my Southern grandmother’s house when I was eleven and read without stopping over the course of two days and a night); Zelda Fitzgerald’s Save Me the Waltz (the copy given to my mother by her analyst, who curiously thought Zelda’s unhappy story would make inspiring material for my mother’s own recovery from a nervous breakdown); Ferdinand Mayr-Ofen’s The Tragic Idealist (a life of so-called Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria, which set me on course for studying and writing historical biographies and put me in love with the handsome young monarch pictured in the frontispiece); and Dame Rebecca West’s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (which, with West’s painter’s eye and composer’s ear for coloring and orchestrating ideas and images to produce breathtakingly beautiful moods and insights, had a huge influence on my own writing style).

Yet it was a children’s book, not quite fit for the above list of masterworks, that made the greatest, longest-lasting impression: Wilson Gage’s Miss Osborne-the-Mop.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Book Issue, Books and Authors, Menzies | Link to this Entry

Author profile

December 1st, 2002

Grant Menzies has published a biography of the film actress Charlotte Greenwood and his biographies of Princess Der Ling of China and the Russian emigé poet Olga Ilyin will be published next year. A trained classical pianist, he has also written a great many music reviews. His Black Lamb column is called Vivo d’Arte.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Menzies | Link to this Entry

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