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JHK’s Three-Act Play, Big Slide
A log mansion in the Adirondack Mountains…
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A nation in peril…
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Ho ho ho! It’s that time of year again. Here’s JHK’s holiday classic: A Christmas Orphan.

11-year-old Jeff Greenaway hears his mom and dad argue one night after an office Christmas party. He infers from their garbled squabble that he is an orphan, found in a willow basket on the welcome mat outside their New York apartment. Thinking now that his parents are imposters, he steals away to Grand Central Station and buys a train ticket to Drakesville, Vermont, where he intends to start life all over again.
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JHK’s lost classic now reprinted as an e-book
Kindle edition only


 

March 2013

Get a load of this beauty. Social housing on the outskirts of Paris by the architectural firm Maison Edouard François.

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Get a load of this beauty. Social housing on the outskirts of Paris by the architectural firm Maison Edouard François. The awkward galumphing colossus manages to employ every schlock gimmick from the PoMo and DeCon playbooks: the homage to industrial banality, the confusion of building typologies, the arbitrary change of cladding materials, the ironic “squashing” of the “row houses” along the base (to make the point that gravity is a joke), the iconic horizontal window bands and flat roof, and the cartoon treatment of the bungalows perched playfully askew on top. The objective of this stunt-obsessed architecture is to confound our expectations about the urban habitat and the things in it, under the theory that life is not suffficiently anxiety-provoking — so architects must supply more of it. Absent are the elements really needed in the urban setting: decorum, legibility, scale that will afford adaptive re-use over time, and a ground floor that shows some generosity to public life.

Thanks to reader James Mullen, who remarked of this: “I figure the only way the architect could make the building more outwardly annoying is to install speakers all around that amplify the recorded sound of fingernails on a chalkboard 24/7.

 

About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

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