Ron Currie Jr. writes fiction that a Hollywood executive might call high-concept. His first book, God Is Dead (2007), imagines life on earth after God has taken human form—in Darfur, no less—and died. His second novel, Everything Matters!, tells the story of a young man called Junior, born in Maine
Hans Fallada is the romantic nom de plume invented by a man who lived through some of the most difficult episodes in his country's history and came out indifferently, neither a hero nor a villain. "Hans" recalls the Grimms' Lucky Hans, a fairy-tale fool who smiles even as he is cheated; and "Falada"
“Writers love music,” observes Peter Terzian in his introduction to Heavy Rotation: Twenty Writers on the Albums That Changed Their Lives. “A good ear is almost a requirement of the job; the best writing has voice, has rhythm.” Indeed, John Ashbery has spoken of his poetry’s indebtedness to
Sometimes, the soft literary citizens of liberal democracy long for prohibition. Coming up with anything to write about can be difficult when you are allowed to write about anything. A day in which the most arduous choice has been between "grande" and "tall" does not conduce to literary strenuousness.
Multigenerational novels about women often elicit analogies to tapestries—relationships are interwoven, themes are intertwined, and there is much braiding of narrative strands. Let us not likewise domesticate Kate Walbert’s remarkable novel A Short History of Women, which traces five generations back
It is significant that Helen Carr opens her account of the Imagist movement with a personal detail: the moment in 1912 in the British Museum tea-room, when Ezra Pound read his one-time fiancée, Hilda Doolittle's completed poem, "Hermes of the ways", and, on the strength of it, pronounced her, "HD
Millions heard the sound of freedom in the Beatles’ music. Elijah Wald hears a death knell. In the songs of the Fab Four, he argues, pop music completed its decades-long transformation from a kingdom of democratic dance and authorless song to a lonesome land of private pleasures and isolated
'Every life has a theme', wrote Isaac Rosenfeld in an essay on Gandhi. The theme of his own life, and of this biography, was failure. Rosenfeld was born in Chicago in 1918 and with the publication of his novel Passage from Home in 1946 was pronounced a golden boy of American letters. Yet almost
David Foster Wallace, who hanged himself in his home last September, wrote about authenticity, self-consciousness and the pursuit of happiness in America. It became a commonplace and then a cliché and then almost a taunt to call him the greatest writer of his generation, yet his project remained
Much of today’s food writing describes extreme fare, from molecular gastronomists who present bison on a pine branch festooned with candy canes to state-fair vendors who serve deep-fried Twinkies. But what about everyday meals cooked in America’s kitchens, both now and in the past? Mark Kurlansky’s