The '60s London of the unhappy adolescent Ginger (Elle Fanning, with Annette Bening's mentoring May) was more complicated than students Ginger's age understand today. Film writer Ella Taylor, who lived through that decade, came late to an understanding of the toll it took on young women like Ginger.
Credit Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS
The 1963 nuclear disarmament demonstration known as the Aldermaston March, which culminated in a speech by the aristocratic British social critic Bertrand Russell, was characteristic of left-leaning activism in 1960s London. Film writer Ella Taylor (not pictured) participated in many such demonstrations in her youth.
A few weeks ago, I asked a class of college undergraduates what the 1960s meant to them.
"That flower-power thing?" one young man volunteered brightly.
The further we get from that misunderstood decade, the more the many strands of its rebelliousness get reduced to a pop-culture T-shirt slogan, a cartoon strip starring tie-dyed youth with stoned eyes and floor-mop hair.
Novelist Phillip Roth steers clear of provocation in the PBS documentary Philip Roth: Unmasked; he comes across, rather, as sensible, sensitive, maybe a bit cranky but hardly outrageous at all. And his unmistakable voice will ring true, especially for fans.
PBS producer Susan Lacy guides Roth through nearly 90 minutes of personal reflection and debate in the new documentary feature.
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 10:38 am
There's nothing particularly dynamic about Livia Manera and William Karel's documentary Philip Roth: Unmasked. For some 90 minutes, it's pretty much just one guy talking. But what a guy!
Roth is one of the greatest living novelists, possibly even the greatest. He can also be an inflammatory presence, eliciting outrage almost as much as admiration, particularly among women who see him as a misogynist.
Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 2:43 pm
Jessica Francis Kane drew considerable attention for her artful historic novel, The Report, which explored the repercussions of a tragic incident in March 1943, when 173 people died while rushing into the Bethnal Green tube station for shelter during an air raid. Her portraits of wartime Londoners were psychologically acute and rich in evocative detail. She applies that same skill to her second collection, This Close, populated by 21st century Americans adrift in an increasingly complicated world.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 1:16 pm
In his new novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Mohsin Hamid's nameless protagonist is an ambitious young man who moves from the countryside to a megalopolis in search of his fortune. The city is modeled on Lahore, Pakistan, where Hamid was born and partly raised and where — after living in the United States and England — he has now settled with his family.
William H. Gass is a glutton of language. Like a chef who can't cook without nibbling, he lards his own writing with similes and metaphors in the spirit of the books he loves, savoring them through imitation. In his essays on literature, this gusto is contagious. You want to taste his taste, to read what he has read. Gass' exuberant, bursting sentences convey the pleasure of reading and thinking better than just about any written since the New Critics took over criticism in the 1950s.
Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 9:57 am
As we prepare to celebrate Pi(e) Day on Thursday (Congress established March 14 as a day to honor both the mathematical constant, 3.14, and our nation's favorite dessert), we find a burgeoning pie scene in Chicago. And it's not of the deep-dish variety.
Hosts George Miller and Kate Scuffle chat with Jill Dunn, artistic director at Pennsylvania Youth Theatre, and Alex Zolgelsand and Sophie Kitch-Peck, actors from "The Hobbit", now showing at the Ice House in Bethlehem. Also joining our hosts, will be artistic director Josh Neth and actor Samantha Beedle of Allentown Public Theatre, talking about their newest production "Parallel Lives."