Since his suicide, David Foster Wallace has made the transition from major writer to major industry. Hence this UK issue…
Thick, sentimental and with a narrative bestriding four decades, Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings feels above all like a Victorian novel,…
Five years after the start of the Great Recession, America is fast recovering its might
Jeffrey Sachs is the world’s best-connected development economist. An academic with highly developed communication skills, he has always managed to…
A western intervention might never have worked. But it certainly won’t now
Barack Obama is not up to the job. That is Ron Suskind’s oft-repeated contention. The President, he states, compromised with,…
Of all the cities in all the world, Paris dominates the American imagination more than any other. Although Americans may…
There are people sent to depress us, and prominent among them is Mark Steyn, whose speciality is apocalyptic predictions. Following…
The words that echoed constantly in the back of my mind as I read this book were from Paul Simon’s song ‘Train in the Distance’: ‘the thought that life could be better is woven indelibly into our hearts and our brains’.
Many saw disaster coming, including Philip Hensher, but no one did anything
In Dreams From My Father, his exploration of race and roots, Barack Obama recalled the tales heard in childhood about the man who gave him his name.
Annie Proulx (pronounced ‘Pru’) began her writing career — quite late, in her fifties — as E.A. Proulx, to baffle misogynist editors; then she was E. Annie Proulx, until she dropped the E and became simply Annie the Proulx.
Q. Why did God give liberals annoying, whiny voices? A. So that even the blind could hate them.
America’s love of the ancient republics has had military consequences in the present
Five years after his death, Saul Bellow’s literary reputation has yet to suffer the usual post-mortem slump, and publication of these lively letters should help sustain his standing.
This year America celebrates the cent-enary of Mark Twain’s death.
Who was the first American to marry an English duke? Most students of the peerage would say it was Consuelo Yzagna who married the eldest son of the Duke of Manchester in 1876.
Jonathan Raban left Britain and moved to Seattle in 1990, when he was 47.
In the late days of the Bush administration, it was fashionable among liberals to call George W. Bush the ‘worst’ president since the founding of the republic and to suggest that under his leadership America experienced its own version of the Dark Ages.
The somewhat straightlaced theatre-going audiences of 1880s America, eager for performances by European artistes like Jenny Lind and solid, home-grown, classical actors such as Otis Skinner, were hardly prepared for the on-stage vulgarity that the (usually) Russian and Polish immigrant impressarios, with their particular nous for show-biz, were to unleash into the saloons and fleapits across the young nation.
In the Rainbow Grill in New York one evening in 1971, according to Robin D. G. Kelley, Professor of History and American Studies at the University of Southern California, Duke Ellington halted his band in mid-flow and announced: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the baddest left hand in the history of jazz just walked into the room, Mr Thelonious Monk.'
At the beginning of The Ask, Horace sits with Burke and proclaims that America is a ‘run down and demented pimp’.
‘Next time it’s full buggery!’ said Christopher Hitchens as I helped him onto a train at Taunton station after a full luncheon of Black Label, Romanée-Conti, eel risotto and suckling pig.
If you wanted to write about Marilyn Monroe, how would you go about it? The pile of biographies, memoirs and novels about poor, sad Marilyn is already teetering.