In “An Anxious Man,” the first story in James Lasdun’s new collection, It’s Beginning to Hurt, the protagonist, who is vacationing on Cape Cod, grumbles self-consciously about the falling prices of his stocks: “Joseph felt the petulant note in his voice, told himself to shut up, and plunged on.
Homer and Langley Collyer, two human relics from Edith Wharton’s New York, became legendary in late Spring of 1947 when they were discovered dead in their decaying Harlem town house on upper Fifth Avenue, immured behind a reported hundred tons of carefully hoarded debris. Most of that tonnage
In his 2001 novel, Erasure, Percival Everett conjured up the unforgettable Thelonius "Monk" Ellison, a middle-class writer of challenging fiction who enjoys a decidedly quiet (think polite applause) career until, fed up with a publishing industry and reading public interested only in "authentic"
Artists are in the business of simultaneously de-familiarizing and re-familiarizing us with the world around us. "Habit is a great deadener," Samuel Beckett explained, and art lends us a new pair of spectacles with which to view reality anew. Reading writer and actor Wallace Shawn's "Essays," a
In the fall of 1936, after a decade of not doing so, this magazine sponsored a poetry prize. Of the 1,800 poems submitted, said the editors of The Nation, "the overwhelming majority were concerned with contemporary social conflicts either at home or abroad." The winning poem, Wallace Stevens's "The
Midway through Katherine Russell Rich’s year of learning Hindi in India, she takes a holiday with a fellow New Yorker whose direct manner of speaking unnerves her. “In a place swathed in veils—veiled references, displays, emotions, half the women—directness was shocking,” Rich writes in Dreaming in
"I'm not a religious person, but I've heard of this concept of being called to do something," said Josh Neufeld, a graphic artist from New York. "Something happens inside your brain and spirit, and you know you have to do it." Neufeld was only one of many who heard that call after Hurricane Katrina.
If Alexander Portnoy had had a younger brother, he might have sounded a lot like Jonathan Ames. “You see, I’m something of a gentleman, even if I once labeled myself perverted, and it never seems quite proper to stare, like a stamp collector, at your lover’s vagina,” Ames writes in his new book, The