I once heard a master of suspense say that the craft was actually quite simple: Take a perfectly normal situation, a trope readers know well, then throw in a wild “what if?” What if your mild-mannered, homebody spouse — so familiar to you — is the midnight stalker in the black balaclava? What if the […]
A society dame with the shrill voice of a street vendor hides her lover upstairs, then steals up for nocturnal raptures. A gay king who can’t stomach his queen sends his most trusted courtier to impregnate her. A palace congested with vermin and lice harbors lamb chops and cakes tucked deep into the upholstery. A […]
The Hay-Adams Author Series, Wednesday, May 23, 2012. Marie co-hosted a special luncheon appearance and conversation with Joyce Carol Oates at 12 noon at the Hay-Adams, on the corner of 16th St and H, Washington DC. For future tickets for Hay-Adams events, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vassily Aksyonov. Say it to a Washingtonian and you’re likely to get a blank stare. And yet Aksyonov may well be the most important writer in this century to hold a Washington address. He has been hailed as a Salinger, a Dostoevsky, a Hemingway, a Tolstoy. Aksyonov is one of the giants of 20th-century Russian literature, but after 16 years of Washington tenure, hardly anyone seems to know he is here.
One of the trickier subjects in fiction is that of the hapless suitor, besotted with love, locked in a lifelong obsession with a woman he can neither leave nor have. Yet, for all the perils of that soupy scenario, great literature has come of it. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote memorably of just such a man in “The Great Gatsby”; William Styron, in “Sophie’s Choice”; Gabriel García Márquez, in “Love in the Time of Cholera”; and Mario Vargas Llosa, in “The Bad Girl.”
Maybe it’s because you’re not allowed to wear government-issue camouflage; maybe it’s because — when all is said and done — you’re going to war for the money. But if you’re a private military contractor fighting on foreign soil, you might as well be a cowboy looking for payday, and you won’t convince anyone you’re […]
It took more than a century to get here, but last year finally made it obvious: It’s time to throw out the Nobel Prize in literature.
We call him that — he calls himself that — because we use dated language and logic. After more than 300 years and much difficult history, we hew to the old racist rule: Part-black is all black. Fifty percent equals a hundred. There’s no in-between.