So here I am at midnight, sitting in a Barcalounger, reading the Collected Fictions of Gordon Lish while idly masturbating. Idly, that is, not idol-ly, because Lish is no god of mine so much as he is a lazy indulgence. And if what comes of this is merely tedium with the occasional spasm of delight,
The great English poet John Clare spent the last twenty-three years of his life in the Northampton General Lunatic Asylum; it was his second extended stay in a madhouse. When he died there, on May 20, 1864, his poetry was virtually forgotten. After a frenzy of celebrity in the 1820s, when he was
The Mediterranean beach setting and amorous title may give the impression that Vendela Vida's new book, The Lovers, is a sexy vacation read. Not quite: There is a bit of romance, but it's just one of several kinds of love that are addressed in this novel, Vida's third.
Two new war memoirs, one from a reporter and one from a former army officer, describe close to nothing at all but do so with urgency. Violent images flash by, lives are shattered, the end. You might be inclined to wonder about the difference between observer and participant reports on war, but those
During the most recent edition of the World Cup in 2006, 16.9 million Americans watched the quadrennial soccer tournament's final game on TV — more than those who tuned in to the NBA playoffs that year. Soccer is growing in the United States, especially because ours is one of only seven national
Twenty-five years after Bret Easton Ellis left us with "images so violent and malicious that they seemed to be my only point of reference for a long time afterwards," in his debut novel, Less than Zero, he's revisiting Los Angeles with a sequel of sorts in Imperial Bedrooms. Zero's narrator, Clay,
In the 1980s, we had urban cowboys. Now, we have urban farmers. Where John Travolta in a cowboy hat and big belt buckle was once the emblem of a newly citified country boy, today trends lean in the other direction, with urbanites going back—partway, at least—to the land. Dressed in everything
The Pregnant Widow begins as a beautifully poised, patient comedy of manners, in the tradition of the nineteenth- century English novels that Martin Amis's college-age hero, Keith Nearing, is reading; then, in the last third, the narrative skips ahead and thins out and speeds up and starts to destroy