In the early chapters of Lawrence in Arabia—note the “in”—Scott Anderson describes how the young T. E. Lawrence reacted to the death of his brother. Though the book is named for the British intelligence officer who improbably led an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turks during World War I,
Of the major German-language writers of the past century, we may have a harder time pinning down the satirist Karl Kraus, who sat in judgment over the hothouse of Vienna from its combustible fin de siècle to the run-up to the Anschluss, than any other. We shouldn’t feel bad about it. Forever
Barbara Stanwyck had many gifts, but none was more central to her career than her capacity to communicate feeling in a way that seemed artless and unmediated. Her performances in a remarkable range of films are well known, or at least available for inspection. Her life, sometimes traumatic, was more opaque. Some actors disport or destroy themselves in spectacular ways; some go to war; some go into politics. Stanwyck just worked.
This is not a book I would normally read; I rarely read mysteries, and the title, Gone Girl, is irritating on its face. I bought it anyway because two friends recommended it with enormous enthusiasm, and because I was curious about its enormous popularity: the millions of copies sold, the impending
Thomas Pynchon's new heroine, a single-mom and quasi PI, pursues a case into the hidden realms of a virtual world. But it's the living, breathing details of Upper West Side life, circa 2001, that give Bleeding Edge its humor and its heart. The uptown Manhattan neighborhood gets the author's signature treatment: three parts laughing gas to one part subterranean profundity.
When J. M. Coetzee’s novel The Childhood of Jesus appeared in the rest of the English-speaking world, in March, critics expressed a sense of polite befuddlement: “[Coetzee] knows what he’s doing but he’s not going to tell you what that is, and I spent much of The Childhood of Jesus
In “Down with Childhood,” perhaps the most provocative chapter in her 1970 classic The Dialectic of Sex, the feminist-Marxist radical Shulamith Firestone argued that revolutionary women, rather than rejecting motherhood altogether, could find common cause with their children: “The mother who wants
In 1953 Philip Lamantia read at what is probably America's most famous poetry reading. It was Allen Ginsberg's inaugural presentation of "Howl," which made the event at San Francisco's Six Gallery historic. Lamantia avoided the spotlight that night, but his Collected Poems reveal a turbulent and risky writer—one who was perhaps even braver than his Beat cohorts.
Alcoholism, racism, rape: Novelist Lore Segal, now 85, has approached grim, horrific material with a mix of gentleness and judgment. She has written a moving account of her escape from Nazi Austria, and also a zany satire about self-centered, backstabbing writers. Throughout her career, we see an effort to maintain high spirits in the face of discouraging things.
Bad enough that a new Norman Rush book appears but once a decade; to be a big tease about it seems cruel. As far back as 2005, Rush was describing his new novel, Subtle Bodies, as a “screwball tragedy,” a book concerned with “friendship, male friendship in particular.” The tease was on, and