Anthony Domestico is an assistant professor of literature at Purchase College, SUNY.
By this author
Adam Johnson's The Orphan Master's Son is the best book I've read in the last year. The novel follows an everyman named Jun Do as he makes his way through the surreal, nightmarish world of Kim Jong-il's North Korea. It's a startling, totally convincing act of the imagination. Johnson has obviously done his research into labor camps, state media, and the like, but he's able to make this research come alive in a way that only the best fiction can. I can't recommend the book highly enough.
When politicians claim that there is an education crisis, they generally mean that there is a science, technology, engineering, and math crisis. If we want to remain competitive in a global economy, we're told, we need more chemists and biologists, more doctors and engineers, more inventors and innovators.
Jonathan Franzen and others on how important "likeability" is in fiction.
Endings are times of reckoning. Now that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, it seems an appropriate moment to consider their costs. What have these wars done to the countries they were supposed to liberate? What have they revealed about the United States—both the leaders who so cavalierly led the country into long-term, unwinnable engagements and the civilians who sat so meekly by while all of this was happening? Finally, what damage have these wars caused to the bodies and minds of our soldiers?
A critic asking whether there is any good Catholic literature being written today? It must be a Tuesday. Over at the Millions, Nick Ripatrazone argues that those who can't find a Catholic presence in contemporary literature just aren't looking in the right places:
Marilynne Robinson on her reading habits (her favorite genre is non-fiction), the gap separatingHousekeepingfromGilead(it was a period filled more with productivity than despair), and the literary character she'd most like to meet (Ishmael).A great tradition:
Fans of rock music and fans of fantasy literature, rejoice!
Joseph Frank, biographer of Dostoevsky and a brilliant literary critic, died on Wednesday.
Terrence Malick's latest film,To the Wonder, still hasn't been released in the United States. I'm a huge Malick fan--see my earlier post on Days of Heaven--so I was already excited to see the new movie, which features Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Olga Kurylenko, and Javier Bardem.After hearing how Malick asked his actors to prepare, though, I'm even more excited:
James Wood, a staff writer for the New Yorker and the author of the new essay collection The Fun Stuff, is as close to a rock star as a literary critic can get. He is a full professor of English at Harvard based solely on the strength of his literary journalism (he doesn’t have a PhD).