Critic David Thomson says the movies have profoundly shaped America, and not always for the better. “The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood” by David Thomson. (Knopf) By Tim Riley The title of David Thomson’s provocative new history of film comes from a trenchant passage in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Last Tycoon”: “You can […]
One of Israel’s foremost prose writers has penned a masterful blend of autobiography and invention. A Tale of Love and Darkness: A Memoir, by Amos Oz. Translated from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange. (Harcourt) By Marsha Pomerantz In a memoir of 538 pages, it is hard to find a single image emblematic of the […]
Veteran British journalist Barry Miles pens the definitive biography of irreverent rocker Frank Zappa. Zappa by Barry Miles. Grove Press By Milo Miles Veteran British journalist and biographer Barry Miles, who has specialized in the Beatles and the Beats, treats Frank Zappa with the same corrosive irreverence the artist applied to every subject he discussed […]
This novel about an American radical of the ’60s who flees to Africa displays a cool grasp of the barbaric machinations of globalization.
Bob Dylan’s first installment of his memoirs invokes the bard of old with engaging prose and an old carny’s sleight of hand. “Chronicles, Volume I” By Bob Dylan. By Tim Riley Bob Dylan is one of rock’s great trapeze artists. His songwriting is the stuff of literary aerobics, but his performances could re-attach your spine […]
Nicholson Baker’s new novel is about a man obsessed with killing President Bush.
A.J. Liebling’s classic work of journalism about the fight game is back in print. The Sweet Science, by A.J. Liebling. (North Point Press). By Bill Marx In 2002, “Sports Illustrated” named “The Sweet Science” the “best American sports book of all time.” Since its author, A.J. Liebling would have turned 100 on October 18, 2004, […]
By Tess Lewis This masterful new novel sees heresy and idealism as the warp and woof of history. Heir to the Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick. (Houghton Mifflin) Little in Cynthia Ozick’s books is predictable or simple. Her sinuous essays are, as she says, “thing[s] of the imagination,” “the movement of a free mind […]
An indispensable new biography of Broadway legend Jerome Robbins reevaluates his life and work.
Critic Susan Sontag asks whether repeated exposure to images of violence makes us less sensitive to human suffering. Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag. (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 144 pages) By Bill Marx The controversy over whether images of American POWs held by Iraqi forces should be broadcast on television testifies to the […]