Nick Flynn's new memoir, The Ticking Is the Bomb, is by turns, and often simultaneously, self-reflective and socially charged. A poet by training, Flynn writes short chapters with impressive agility and cultural command, drawing subtle analogies between Greek myths, zombie movies, photography,
When Tsutomu Yamaguchi died two weeks ago, at 93, he was eulogized as a star-crossed rarity: a man who lived through two atomic blasts, at Hiroshima and then at Nagasaki. He was a man with very good luck, or very bad luck. It's hard to decide.
To complain that Americans don't read enough European fiction is to commit the mortal sin of extreme obviousness. The studied ignorance of literary fiction from anywhere besides the United States (and 99% of literary fiction from within the United States) has to be annoying to non-American authors,
There's an apocryphal tale that on the day jazz composer and bassist Charles Mingus died at 56 in Cuernavaca, Mexico, 56 gray whales beached themselves on the local shores in tribute. True or not, the story makes a kind of cosmic sense. Mingus's art and life seemed governed by a set of rules no one
In 1978, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe collaborated on an art show in New York that poet-critic Rene Ricard dubbed "Diary of a Friendship." That could have been the corny subtitle of Just Kids, but the book⎯which is only occasionally corny and often deeply affecting⎯has none. Smith appends
However you feel after finishing Amy Bloom's new collection of stories, Where the God of Love Hangs Out, you certainly won't be at a loss to answer the question implied in its title. The action takes place, by and large, in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens. Conversations prickling
Louis Menand's The Marketplace of Ideas should be required reading for anybody considering a PhD in the humanities, especially now that the recession is driving more and more people into the supposedly safe haven of graduate school. In less than 200 pages, Menand, an English professor at Harvard and