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 […]
“Whoever manages to write a pure comedy on his deathbed has achieved the ultimate success.” — Thomas Bernhard A biography examines, with mixed results, the life and work of Thomas Bernhard, an acclaimed Austrian writer and playwright his homeland loved to hate. Thomas Bernhard: The Making of an Austrian by Gitta Honegger. Yale University Press, 348 pages. […]
“The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan” provides literate entertainment and cautionary tales about what happens to a critic when the will-to-celebrity triumphs over the urge-to-critique. The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan Edited by John Lahr. Bloomsbury, 439 pages. By Bill Marx Kenneth Tynan’s descent from brilliance to muddle is a fable for theater critics, a cautionary tale […]