Essays Archives - Page 83 of 101 - The Millions

April 23, 2010

Chasing the Whale: Banksy, Obsession, and the Sea 6

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At first blush, connecting contemporary art to the heyday of seafaring might seem incongruous, but sailors were the eyes of the world for landlubbers, returning home with tales of what mystical, depraved and wondrous sites and cultures existed just beyond the horizon.

April 22, 2010

The Baby-Sitters Club is Back, Baby! 9

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Given the current YA vampire and fantasy craze, I wonder if novels staked in the normal can find the ardent following they did with my generation. Will young readers with an acutely developed taste for bloody bites and wizard wands be captivated by the story of industrious teenagers facing the universal travails of growing up?

April 21, 2010

A Different Species: A Chinese American Writer in China 6

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Amid the modern Chinese version of capitalism, with its frenzied self-invention and incessant deal-making, my pursuit seemed inexplicable. Some people demanded to know how much money I would earn off my book. Others wondered why anyone in America would care to read about my characters. A few concluded that I must be a spy.

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?