Since it is the innovators who make up the real history of the novel, Milan Kundera muses on the increasing tenuousness of this tradition of eccentric innovation. He also charts how the new arises from a collision between forgetting and remembering images of the past. The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts. By Milan Kundera. […]
Edgar Degas once said that painting should be akin to committing a crime. And many Americans saw creation of some of the most important works of American art as just that—roguish, cunning and wicked—in short, criminal. Visual Shock: A History of Art Controversies in American Culture by Michael Kammen. Penguin Random House, 480 pages, $18. […]
In her latest project, Pulitzer prize-winning dramatist Suzan-Lori Parks covers the country. By Jared Craig Four years ago, Suzan-Lori Parks set out to do what no dramatist, no matter how prolific, has ever done before. The Pulitzer prize-winning playwright decided to write a play for each day of the year. Her mission completed, the scripts […]
“The Children’s Hospital” by Chris Adrian. (McSweeney’s) By Adrienne LaFrance Chris Adrian looks familiar because he looks ordinary. Dressed simply in khakis and a wrinkled, white Oxford shirt, he speaks just loudly enough to be heard and smiles only with his mouth closed. His calm restraint– like that of a monk or a surgeon– naturally […]
A new novel focuses on the plight of a young deaf woman who is trying to track down a man who stole her identity.
Journalist Amy Sutherland delves into everyday life at the world’s premier school for exotic animal trainers. “Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World’s Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers” by Amy Sutherland. (Viking) By Abby Frucht I once saw a circus act in which an elephant sat in what looked like a […]
In the first half of this installment of ArtsCast, we focus on the cultural wars as experienced through the eyes of Gary Cole, who was on the fast track to become the number three man at the National Endowment for the Arts until his nomination was torpedoed. According to the former Republican activist, GOP powerbrokers […]
A worthy present for Mozart on his 250th birthday: an original, sometimes eclectic, and mostly well-written book about the composer and his operas. “Mozart and His Operas” by David Cairns. (University of California Press) By Mark Kroll Mozart mania is back. In fact, it never left and don’t say I didn’t warn you. We are […]
This year marks the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth and just about every classical performing group is paying tribute. Enterprising souls are marketing everything from standard keepsakes to off-the-wall Mozart items. Mozart Salami, anyone? “Mozart: The Early Years, 1756-1781″ by Stanley Sadie. (Norton) By Mary Ann Nichols Among the more erudite celebrations of the event […]
In his latest novel, John Updike explores the nature of faith through the eyes of a would-be terrorist.