Books

Theater Commentary: Drums in the Night — A Glimpse of the Real Weimar

December 18, 2010
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“My condition was like that of a man who has fired a gun at people he dislikes, and finds these same people coming and giving three cheers for him: inadvertently he had been firing loaves of bread. – Bertolt Brecht, “Drums in the Night’s Success With the Bourgeoisie” By Bill Marx Granted, some of Brecht’s…

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Book Review: A Pair of Darkly Jolly Jolleys

December 14, 2010
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But make no mistake about these two novels; they are not just delicious, hilarious capers. They glow in the mind because they are informed by Elizabeth Jolley’s understanding of our common loneliness and her sympathy with the myriad, ingenious connections we make to try to alleviate it. The Sugar Mother by Elizabeth Jolley. Persea Books,…

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Book Review: “Fruitlands” — New England Utopia Gone Wrong

December 13, 2010
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You can understand why historian and novelist Richard Francis became attached to this quixotic piece of New England history. It’s got an amazing cast of colorful characters, and dramatic rivalries that involve contests over land, love, money, and sex. Fruitlands: The Alcott Family and Their Search for Utopia by Richard Francis. Yale University Press, 344…

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Theater Review: “The Blue Flower” — The Kitsch of Death

December 12, 2010
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The set-up sounds promising, a look back at a time of furious intellectual and artistic ferment, especially with its demand for art that challenges rather than caters to conventional tastes, creativity that revels in distortion, the surreal, the political, and the visceral. The Blue Flower. Music, Lyrics, and Script and Videography by Jim Bauer. Artwork,…

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Fuse Remembrance: Heda Kovaly

December 12, 2010
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Translating what became Under a Cruel Star was a labor of love as well as a work of feminism. There were few memoirs around of a life that spanned Nazism and Stalinism. None was written by a woman. By Helen Epstein. Readers of today’s New York Times found a remarkable story on the obituary page:…

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Theater Review: HD Hamlet — Determined Relevance

December 11, 2010
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Royal National Theatre Director Nicholas Hytner is determined to make the drama as relevant to our own times as to the Bard’s. The setting is a somewhat flimsy, gray-walled salon. Theatrical apparatuses are visible: a klieg light here, a fresnel there. Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Staged by the Royal National Theatre, London, England. Taped by…

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Book Review: Remembering “The Wrong Blood”

December 11, 2010
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Balancing the domestic and the tragic, The Wrong Blood explores the ways in which political history and personal histories intertwine: the novel is an invaluable reminder of how, in the midst of war, love and continuity preserve the potential for a richer life despite the disaster. The Wrong Blood by Manuel de Lope. Translated from…

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The Annual Arts Fuse Holiday Gift Roundup — Tips from the Experts

December 11, 2010
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With gift season comes the existential quandary: What to give the culture lovers on your list? This season the writers for The Arts Fuse waylay the crisis by recommending items that will delight the heart and stimulate the mind. Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section. Keep in mind that…

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Book Review: Herman Melville and the Solace of Movement

November 28, 2010
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“Life, you see, is a lonely business . . . When there is a storm, it’s best to turn into the teeth of it. Don’t fly away, allowing an evil wind to come upon you from the stern. That’s our weakest part. We’re rib cage and metal up front. The bow is always best. Head…

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Book Interview: Sailing Through the Mind of Herman Melville

November 28, 2010
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In his novel “The Passages of H. M.: A Novel of Herman Melville” author Jay Parini combines extensive research from existing biographies with a concrete evocation of the nineteenth century writer’s world and mind. We ask the writer a few questions about Melville, and whether there would be a market for his books today. By…

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