Books

Theater Commentary: A Rare Outing for an Undervalued American Drama

October 13, 2010
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Can’t we get our unjustly neglected American playwrights right? A chance to see a marvelous, overlooked American play of the 1950s.  And it is not by the prosaic William Inge. “When something seems ‘the most obvious thing in the world’ it means any attempt to understand the world has been given up.” — Bertolt Brecht…

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Book Review: Green’s Garden of Delights

September 30, 2010
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David Green’s stories make for compelling literature—the kind of reading which poses a challenge today because of its exploration of psychological complexity, enigma, confusion, and suspense. The Garden of Love and Other Stories, by David Green. The Pen & Anvil Press, $14.95 Reviewed by Christopher M. Ohge. The romantic poetry of William Blake first came…

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Book Review: A Norwegian Ghost Story

September 19, 2010
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The novella revolves around that oxymoron of “silent voices”: Jon Fosse’s aim is to evoke the insinuating power of self-destructive forces that lie beyond our control.

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Music Interview: Jazz Colossus at 80. Bob Blumenthal on Sonny Rollins

September 6, 2010
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Bob Blumenthal has spent almost his entire listening life as an admirer of Rollins and an appreciator of his music, and he is a prose stylist of great elegance and precision. There is hardly anyone alive more qualified to write this kind of career-spanning appreciation. Saxophone Colossus: a Portrait of Sonny Rollins Text by Bob…

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Book Review: “Freedom” — Jonathan Franzen Unbound

August 29, 2010
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Jonathan Franzen’s new novel is the talk of the town, but does it have anything to say? Freedom: A Novel, by Jonathan Franzen. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 576 pages, $28. Reviewed by Tommy Wallach In two days, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux will publish Freedom, the new novel by Jonathan Franzen whose last book, The Corrections,…

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Short Fuse: The Unmerited Power of Art

August 26, 2010
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In his latest novel, Michael Cunningham writes about Manhattan’s art world with canny insight and sympathy. But he goes beyond that, anchoring his story not only in beauty, as it is constantly reconceived and imagined, but in considerations of love, sex, morality, and mortality. By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 256 pages,…

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Fuse Flash: Four Bold Minutes with Abbey Lincoln

August 16, 2010
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The death of Abbey Lincoln on Saturday August 14, just a week after her 80th birthday, rewound my audio memory to 1959. By Steve Elman I didn’t have to re-listen to “Lost in the Stars,” from her Riverside album Abbey is Blue. I can replay that performance any time I wish, just by thinking about…

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Theater Review: A Sugar-Frosted ‘Winter’s Tale’

August 13, 2010
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Shakespeare’s late romance, with its catastrophic opening capped by a supernatural-tinged happy ending, is not for those who like their tragedies undiluted. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare. Directed by Kevin G. Coleman. Staged by Shakespeare & Company at the Founders’ Theatre, Lenox, MA, through September 5. Reviewed by Susan Miron The Winter’s Tale is…

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Theater Review: A Faint Touch of Evil

August 11, 2010
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Shakespeare’s tragic characters, on the other hand, suffer from the Christian sin of pride: knowing you aren’t God, but trying to become Him—a sin of which any of us is capable. — W. H. Auden on Othello in Lectures on Shakespeare Othello by William Shakespeare. Directed by Steven Maler. Staged by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company…

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Food Muse: Breaking Bread, Breaking the Ice

August 9, 2010
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If you want to know what’s for dinner in the Middle East or Africa, look no further than this marvelous book. Here a Persian dish of eggplant with saffron and yogurt, there a Ghanaian soup of chicken and ground nuts scooped up with a dumpling called fufu, there a Lebanese stuffed grape leaf from Arnold…

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