Pearl Abraham's fourth novel, American Taliban, is the story of an American family riven by the disappearance of a young man, John Jude Parish, into the ranks of the Taliban weeks before 9/11. Though glancingly based on the life of John Walker Lindh, the novel differs in particulars: The eighteen-year-old
The afterword to Olga Grushin's second novel, The Line, explains that her book is based on Igor Stravinsky's 1962 visit to Russia, the great composer's return home after fifty years abroad. More than five thousand fans waited a year in line for a concert he would conduct, establishing schemes to
When David Lipsky meets David Foster Wallace, it's 1996, Infinite Jest has just been released, and Wallace is the most famous literary writer in America. The author is also using a Barney the Purple Dinosaur towel as a bedroom curtain in his Illinois home. On the wall is a poster of Alanis Morissette.
"Spare me smart Jewish girls with their typewriters," quipped Clement Greenberg, the legendary critic of modernism, to Rosalind Krauss, his most brilliant disciple. It was 1974: Krauss had made a name for herself writing on Minimalism in the pages of Artforum but would soon leave the magazine to
"Which wife are you?" The audacity of this question, often posed to Norris Church Mailer, sixth wife of Norman Mailer, reflects the particular challenges of marrying a larger-than-life literary icon with a checkered reputation. Consider for a moment the skill set required to be Mailer's wife: an
Many of the pieces in David Grann's fine collection of articles, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes, read like detective stories, and it would be tempting to categorize this book, whose subtitle promises us "tales of murder, madness, and obsession," as a work of true crime, albeit one without the breathless
For a musical style once purported to suck and still decried as mindless, disco has spawned a lot of thoughtful writing, especially in the past decade. In 2004, Tim Lawrence published the lovingly researched Love Saves the Day, a history set primarily in gay 1970s New York clubs such as David Mancuso's
Jennifer Gilmore's Something Red opens in the summer of 1979. The hostage crisis in Iran will soon play out; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is imminent. The political stakes are high, but passions are dulled. The Summer of Love and Freedom Summer are dusty memories. Kent State has become a legal