Philip Roth retires from fiction

by David Alm November 11, 2012

Last year, Philip Roth said he was done reading fiction. Now he says he’s done writing it, too. Roth’s literary output could be compared to Woody Allen’s with film. Since he published his first collection of short stories, in 1959, he has written 27 novels and two books of non-fiction, as well as several essays. […]

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Philip Roth has a new biographer, and it’s not an alter-ego

by David Alm September 11, 2012

Philip Roth writes novels that he insists are not autobiographical despite the undeniable parallels between his life and those of his protagonists. Roth is now 79, and if his creation, the controversial Jewish “novelist” Nathan Zuckerman, were still “alive,” he would be about the same age. So would David Kapesh, another Roth alter-ego, albeit a […]

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The Portrait of a Lady, Revisited

by Oline Eaton September 20, 2011
Portrait of a Lady

It’s fascinating, the difference in reading a novel as an adult that you loved at fifteen. There’s both a deepening and defrauding. In search of an easy reread, I recently took up Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady during an eight-hour international flight. I was shocked by how the novel had changed in my […]

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MANENO — a few words on the making of Stone Town’s monthly poetry reading series

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein May 21, 2011

Where were all the poets and writers in Zanzibar? Where were those wordsmiths hiding? Throughout my first year in Zanzibar, I may have been living inside the poem that is this island, but I’d stopped writing poetry, and I felt like the proverbial fish out of water. I’d defined myself as a poet and writer […]

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Reality hungry or good hungry

by Cynthia Newberry Martin May 8, 2011

So, David Shields’ manifesto Reality Hunger. Structure: 618 short sections grouped into 26 chapters. Subject: our hunger for the real as opposed to the invented. Shields makes some strong points and shares some controversial ideas, most of which, in the real world, would require a cite. But Shields does not believe that reality–words, music–belongs to anyone. […]

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Pure Egan

by Cynthia Newberry Martin March 20, 2011

In her selected shorts interview, Jennifer Egan talked about how, years ago, she abandoned a story because she couldn’t find any way to rein in the material. Well, in A Visit From the Goon Squad, Egan is the master of compression. In Chapter 1, she creates a shortcut based on a time period idiosyncratic to […]

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Surprising correlations between Kundera and house building

by Mere Martinez March 15, 2011
A photo of the house of whimsey at Brent Green

There is nothing funny or surprising about the things you let slacken when you’re overextended. I’m hard at work on my graduate thesis; it is the one taut thread of my life at the moment. It greets me in the morning with an open-handed slap, bullies me all day, and elbows its way into my […]

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