Essays Archives - Page 75 of 112 - The Millions

January 10, 2012

Writing the City 6

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They say fiction requires conflict; well, when New York was a war of all against all, you had all the conflict you could handle any time you put your feet on the street.

January 9, 2012

The Story Behind the Story: An Appreciation of Authors’ Acknowledgments 19

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At their best, acknowledgements can be finely-wrought short stories with the author as protagonist. At least one acknowledgements has made me cry.

January 5, 2012

The Politics of Art: Middle Eastern Women in Fiction and Film 4

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We often receive depictions of Middle Eastern women as submissive and helpless, forced to hide their bodies, and we hardly ever discuss their determination as individuals.

November 30, 2011

Naples and The Gallery 2

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John Horne Burns’ The Gallery was his first book, a chronicle of the chaos and beauty and horror of occupied Naples in 1943 and 1944. It’s an interesting hybrid: a novel in which stories alternate with an elegant travelogue, and the travelogue appears to be the author’s memoir: “I remember that at Casablanca it dawned on me that maybe I’d come overseas to die.”

November 30, 2011

The Saddest Story I Have Ever Heard: An Agnostic Appreciation of The Book of Genesis 6

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When I think of poor Adam and Eve and their hapless abdication of paradise in return for some new knowledge, I can’t help thinking of my own incremental sense of impending banishment with each new rumor overheard, as a child, from across the border of Adulthood.

November 28, 2011

The Little Room of Danger and Depth 12

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In this day and age it seems almost prehistoric to want to establish a library. It’s as though I’m admitting that I’ve become a fan of riding a donkey down to the shops, or that I’ve discovered how and why things fall to the ground.

November 28, 2011

Where Have All the Catholic Writers Gone? 64

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Despite such a rich literary heritage, novels — both by Catholics and non-Catholics — grappling with what used to be called “the drama of salvation” are no longer just rare, but almost unthinkable nowadays.

November 23, 2011

The Genre Games 46

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I developed my own little highly-nonscientific experiment: I went to the local library and checked out three books in each of seven genres and devoted an entire weekend to looking for tropes or devices that separated one genre from another. I had some really weird dreams that weekend.

November 22, 2011

Beyond Holokitsch: Spiegelman Goes Meta 1

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Art Spiegelman’s Maus is that rare work of literature that speaks to everyone while pandering to no one. MetaMaus is a record of how Spiegelman pulled off this magic trick.

November 14, 2011

Reading 1Q84: The Case for Fiction in a Busy Life 27

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I stopped questioning the purpose of fiction and instead began to see reading 1Q84 as one of the few necessary things I did all day. The reasons for the change of heart had to do with wonder, with love, and with the way literature provides for the best parts of who we are.