Robin Marantz Henig

  • The Lost Father

    ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE is having a moment. Julianne Moore won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a sufferer in Still Alice. Glen Campbell was nominated for one, too, for the song he wrote about his Alzheimer’s that was featured in the documentary I’ll Be Me. Roz Chast won a National Book Critics Circle Award for Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, her graphic narrative of her parents’ decline. A recent series on NPR focused on selections from On Pluto, journalist Greg O’Brien’s description of his own early-onset disease.

    It’s a far cry from 1980, when I would describe the book I was

  • Unchained Melody

    If I chose to look at my life through a particularly self-critical lens, my personal narrative would boil down to the story of a woman who spent her entire adulthood trying to get good at something, anything. Beginning in my twenties and with no noticeable talent besides writing, I took classes in a string of leisure-time activities that I hoped would turn into something to love. I have no natural grace, but I tried clogging, then folk dancing, then swing dancing, then tap. I’m not especially artistic, but I took pottery classes and quilting classes. I tried learning Spanish, I tried learning

  • Last Call

    THE DINOSAURS WERE THE LEAST OF IT. They, together with other “charismatic megafauna,” went extinct during a massive global event at the end of the Cretaceous period, sixty-six million years ago—but by then there had already been four other mass extinctions, dating as far back as the Ordovician period, 444 million years ago. And now, according to New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert, we’re heading for another: a sixth extinction, which she characterizes as “the amazing moment that to us counts as the present, [when] we are deciding, without quite meaning to, which evolutionary pathways