Post-40 Bloomers

April 14, 2015

Punk Rock Indeed: The Two Sides of Viv Albertine 2

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She picks up a guitar because that’s what a music-loving art school girl does, with no illusions about becoming a musician. “Mick and I go to Denmark Street to choose a guitar. I’ve got no idea what to look for. I might as well be going to buy a semi-automatic weapon.”

February 20, 2015

Secret Lives: Katherine Heiny’s ‘Single, Carefree, Mellow’ 2

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Almost a quarter-century after the day that Roger Angell called you with the news that he wanted to publish your story, a book with your name on it is at last out in the world and bringing you acclaim that surprises you.

February 5, 2015

Yahya Frederickson in Yemen: The Gold of the Wayfarer 1

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“I’ve learned to see that people are not their governments. People are people, with the same hopes, dreams, fears, and feelings as anybody else. And isn’t this realization — that people are not their government — something that we’d want people in other countries to realize about us?”

January 15, 2015

Agnes Martin’s Perfection: Now and Not Yet 4

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Who was this reclusive Agnes Martin, and from where do these so-called “inspired” paintings come from? Who is the person generating these canvasses of quiet beauty? The average person finds comfort in narrative; in comprehensible cause and effect.

November 13, 2014

Joan Chase: Our Childhood Edens and Lost Orchards of Memory 3

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We fall back on the novel itself and on our own reactions, delving deeper into the territory of self-investigation. Which is to say, into literature.

October 16, 2014

Ruthless, Beautiful, Dangerous, Comforting: How It Is in the World of Tove Jansson   1

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Literarily, I am about 11 years old — falling in love over and again with that secret understanding, the deep solace that odd, lonely children typically find in books about odd, lonely children. This is my best explanation for why the adult stories and novels of Tove Jansson have captivated me so fully.

September 18, 2014

Everything Changes: An Interview With Ronna Wineberg 0

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We sat in the living room of my parents’ house and asked questions of our grandparents, aunts, and uncles. We were riveted by their stories and decided to record the conversations on cassette tapes. The discussions were lively; people disagreed about what had happened in the past. My great-grandfather had been murdered in Russia. My great uncle, a man in his late 60s, described the murder to us and as he did, he cried.

August 21, 2014

This Could Be Your Story: On Matthew Thomas’s We Are Not Ourselves 0

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Parents, partners, relatives, friends: someday you will watch a person you care about suffer. It’s not so much that last shovelful of dirt on the grave that should terrify us, but emptying all those bedpans.

July 24, 2014

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s Burst of Sicilian Sun 0

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When I read Lampedusa the sun bursts up indeed, thawing all of that deeply seeded “puritanical horror,” and reconciling life forces that, as Lampedusa attempts to show us, were never meant to be opposed.

June 12, 2014

Kiran Nagarkar: Language, Lore, and Lack of Sales 2

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Nagarkar has said in multiple interviews that he doesn’t want to do the same thing twice. And in challenging himself as a writer, he is challenging his readers as well, tackling religion, history, and current events no matter who might take offense.