Arts

First Reads
7:03 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena'

AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 1:13 pm

  • Listen to the Excerpt

Until last week, when the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings were revealed to be Chechen, you might not have spent much time thinking about Chechnya. It's far away. It might not even be the country you're picturing as you read this.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Thu April 25, 2013

'Woman Upstairs': Friendly On The Outside, Furious On The Inside

Claire Messud's cosmopolitan sensibilities infuse her fiction with a refreshing cultural fluidity. Her first novel, When the World Was Steady (1995), followed two midlife sisters in search of new beginnings, one in Bali and the other on the Isle of Skye. In her second novel, The Last Life (1999), a teenager reacting to a family crisis pondered her father's origins in Algeria and southern France, and her mother's New England roots.

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Author Interviews
3:26 am
Thu April 25, 2013

First Western War In Afghanistan Was An 'Imperial Disaster'

Knopf

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 2:46 am

The year is 1839, and two great empires — Great Britain and Russia — are treating the world map like a chessboard, trying to outmaneuver one another for territory. For no reason other than geography, Afghanistan gets caught in the middle.

Today, as the U.S. ends its war in Afghanistan, historian William Dalrymple recounts the first time a Western power fought in that country. In Return of a King, Dalrymple details Great Britain's attempt to control Afghanistan by putting an ousted king back on the throne — a plan that went famously wrong.

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Theater
3:23 am
Thu April 25, 2013

'Pippin' Revival Is A Circus Of A Show

The role of the Leading Player (Patina Miller) becomes a kind of circus ringmaster in the new Broadway revival of Stephen Schwartz's 1972 musical Pippin.
Joan Marcus

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 2:46 am

When Pippin opened in 1972, it was a sensation. Directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, who was coming off his Academy Award-winning film version of Cabaret, it was a showbiz triumph of jazz hands, sexy dancing and theatrical magic.

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Arts & Life
2:35 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Getting The Gig: The Life Of A Career Poet

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:15 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

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Author Interviews
2:05 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

'Let's Explore': David Sedaris On His Public Private Life

David Sedaris' stories have appeared on This American Life and in The New Yorker, and have now filled seven essay collections -- most recently, Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls.
Hugh Hamrick Little, Brown and Co.

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 7:43 pm

David Sedaris writes personal stories, funny tales about his life growing up in a Greek family outside of Raleigh, N.C., about working as an elf in Santa's workshop at Christmastime, and about living abroad with his longtime partner, Hugh.

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Book Reviews
1:14 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

'Equilaterial': Martians, Oil And A Hole In The Desert

Johan Swanepoel iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 10:08 am

Equilateral is a weird little novel, but any reader familiar with Ken Kalfus expects his writing to go off-road. Kalfus wrote one of the best and certainly the least sentimental novels about New York City post-9/11. I loved A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, but I stopped assigning it to students in my New York lit class because they were usually turned off by its black humor and lack of uplift. Equilateral doesn't run that same risk of being in bad taste as social commentary because, at first, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with current events.

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Monkey See
12:18 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Tribeca Diary: 'The Kill Team'

U.S. Army Spc. Adam Winfield is the subject of the documentary The Kill Team, which focuses on his ongoing legal struggles after being accused of the premeditated murder of an unarmed Afghan in 2010.
Tribeca Film Festival / ITVS

Writer Joel Arnold is surveying the scene at the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs in New York City through April 28. He'll be filing occasional dispatches for Monkey See.

At Tribeca over the weekend, I was initially reluctant to seek out The Kill Team, a documentary focused on American soldiers charged in the 2010 murders of three Afghan civilians — this, after a week when senseless violence felt especially close to home.

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Arts & Life
11:53 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Listener Muses About Mom's Love For Dad

Tell Me More celebrates National Poetry Month by hearing poetic tweets from listeners for the 'Muses and Metaphor' series. Today's poem comes from Roberta Beary. She tweets about her mother's loving gestures toward her father — even after his death.

Monkey See
9:56 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Ryan Lochte And The Easy Life Of The Professional Public Dummy

Ryan Lochte, seen here during the London Olympics in 2012, has a new reality show on E!.
Ng Han Guan Getty Images

Is there any reason to be a professional public hero anymore when you can be a professional public dummy?

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