Near the outset of The Skin, Curzio Malaparte’s novel about Naples following its occupation by Allied forces in October 1943, the author drily notes that it is harder to lose a war than to win it: “While everyone is good at winning a war, not all are capable of losing one.” Three hundred and
Marcos Giralt Torrente’s short-story collection The End of Love is haunted by an ellipsis. There it is in the first story, “We Were Surrounded by Palm Trees,” right where the eye rests, intervening with a pause before we’ve even read the opening lines: “. . . I remember when it started. There
An Arabic poem about Baghdad, like a Hebrew poem about Jerusalem, inevitably evokes the collective memory that binds the place, the language, and its people together. Iraq’s 1,251-year-old capital was built by a Muslim empire that held the torch of civilization in the eighth and ninth centuries.
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.
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
Marianne Moore was an American Athena, spawned by no particular school but championed by every major poet of her generation. She was also a beloved pop icon: She threw the first pitch for the Yankees in 1968, palled around with Norman Mailer and Muhammad Ali, and was invited by Ford to name a new car. But the poet presents a challenge to the biographer: She left behind thirty-five thousand letters but few clues to her personality.