Essays Archives - Page 75 of 93 - The Millions

April 20, 2010

Lionel Shriver: America’s Best Writer? 34

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With her new novel, So Much for That, Lionel Shriver strengthens her already credible claim to the title of best living American writer. That’s okay. We were the same way with Faulkner and Poe. Nothing’s more American than not quite recognizing some of our most accomplished artists.

April 15, 2010

The Trojan Horse Problem: Thoughts on Structure 30

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How many complications of time and viewpoint novel can a stand and remain viable—and by “viable”, I think I mean both “elegant” and “not completely baffling.”

April 14, 2010

Ethical Vampires, Part II 3

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In order to enjoy the Twilight novels, you have to be willing to enter into an intense emotional and hormonal fundamentalism, the twin of the moral fundamentalism apparent in Meyer’s refusal of nuance and ambivalence in favor of an either/or approach to good and evil.

April 9, 2010

Ethical Vampires, Part I 28

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The vampire of our cultural moment has become a “vegetarian” of sorts, a Whole Foods shopper–an individual who prefers humanely raised, sustainably farmed food. From the shimmering pâleur of the vampire radiates something new and hardly otherworldly: an aura of white liberal guilt. But maybe it’s only skin deep?

April 8, 2010

Every Day I Open a Book 10

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Perhaps all those years of reading adventure stories had given me a vocabulary of action, a means to save my father’s life, as if I’d been preparing, through books, for those charged moments without knowing it.

April 2, 2010

The Prescient Science Fiction of Thomas M. Disch 22

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Thomas M. Disch possessed a nightmarish imagination that combined J.G. Ballard’s apocalyptic despair and Philip K. Dick’s nightmares.

March 29, 2010

The Problem with Fairy Tales 13

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Three contemporary retellings revisit the Snow White fairy tale. They all twist the old story, but do they subvert it?

March 18, 2010

Traveling By Faith: Thoughts on Being an Iranian American Writer 8

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A writer is like a goose inside a cloud. You fly by moving your fingers across a keyboard, hoping to write your way out of confusion and into something that makes sense to you and others.

March 16, 2010

Reading War and Peace: The Effects of Great Art on an Ordinary Life 46

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One somewhat disquieting effect of reading War and Peace is that the more your own thoughts show up in its pages, the less original your life begins to feel.

March 15, 2010

Country of Quakes 3

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In Chile, one learns the word for earthquake before the word for thunder, a consequence of living in a country where thunder rumbles infrequently but the earth shakes every few months.