Minute Critic

Horse of a Different Color

Tired of losing authors to richer publishers in New York City, Graywolf Press recently completed a groundbreaking $1 million fundraising drive. As a result, the Minneapolis-based nonprofit is publishing such top-tier work as Per Petterson’s Out Stealing Horses ($22), translated from the Norwegian by Anne Born. This starkly beautiful novel (Petterson’s fifth) tells of a 67-year-old who retreats to eastern Norway to come to terms with the misadventure that ended his childhood innocence. “I recall running from the bedroom with my clothes in my hand that summer night in 1948,” he writes, “realizing in a sudden panic that what my father said and how things really were, were not necessarily the same, and that made the world liquid and hard to hold on to.” Petterson will visit for events at St. Olaf College and the University of Minnesota later this year.

People like it when you tell them things, in suitable portions, in a modest, intimate tone, and they think they know you, but they do not, they know about you…. What they do is they fill in with their own feelings and opinions and assumptions, and they compose a new life which has precious little to do with yours, and that lets you off the hook. No one can touch you unless you yourself want them to.” —Per Petterson

Lolly Pop

Lolly Pop

Take a vibrant young girl from Zimbabwe who grew up listening to British synth pop, then let her follow her dreams to the land of Prince, and you’ve got a freakishly fun character with dance-music DNA. Lolly Pop strives for a theatrical and sartorial splendor this town has rarely seen. To that end, she’s lured a multinational force of funky producers and added local polish courtesy of Monte Moir (the Time) and Prince keyboardist Dr. Fink. The resulting album—re-issued on Italy’s Modo Veloce label—is a world-class collection of high-energy dance pop, with bass tracks that could rock dance floors or football stadiums. Loosely based on My Fair Lady, the album’s elegant center of attention coos and teases like a Mae West-End-Girl. Besides the electro-pop, there’s a choice cut of bitchy silliness on “Fashion Crisis,” (“Attention all units: a 1987 in progress.”), plus a raving remake of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man.” Lolly may seem unattainably glamorous, but the final track, “Happy Ending,” shows the aching heart behind the brash actress, revealing a fully rounded artistic talent.