Articles by Nina Martyris

February 12, 2013

The League of Ordinary Gentlemen: A Conversation with Julian Barnes 3

“A friend of mine once said to me, why are so many of the characters in your novels so sort of wimpy and passive? …I suppose it’s that I’m less interested in the typical hero who goes out and does things. My heroes don’t do things. Sometimes things are done to them.”

October 8, 2012

Salman Rushdie Meets Super Mario 5

A religious tyrant decides that Salman Rushdie should die for writing a “blasphemous” book. For ten years he is forced to flee from one safe-house to another with no one for company but his bodyguards and an increasingly estranged wife. How does he pass the time? How about video games?

August 10, 2012

Edward Lear, the London Olympics, and the Power of Absurdity 4

Reacting to the opening ceremony, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, a fearless and outspoken critic of his own government’s totalitarian ways, put his finger on the zeitgeist when he said that only a free country could have pulled off this kind of an idiosyncratic entertainment that reflected the character of a free people rather than the marketing vision of a police state.

June 15, 2012

Literary Tourism: At Suttree’s High Gravity Beer Tavern 6

Matt and Anne have also been asked, hopefully, if their menu has a melon cocktail. The disappointing answer is no. The melon has an exalted place in the novel because of a ridiculous but tender scene in which a young botanical pervert call Gene Harrogate steals into the fields by nights, shucks off his overalls, and begins to mount melons in the soil.

April 25, 2012

Exit, Pursued by a Tiger 10

Tiger Lit has never been so popular. Look at the number of award-winning fictions in the last decade in which tigers escape from zoos. All kinds of besotted, bombed-out, starving, mangy, metaphoric and misunderstood man-eaters are now on the loose.