The Human Stain (2003)

But the adaptation of a written text to film also necessarily foregrounds the authority of images, imposing specificity on what an author might have chosen to describe more generally. I was surprised, for example, to find myself suddenly moved by an image of the small boxes in which Faunia stores the ashes of her dead children. In the novel, surprisingly little emphasis is placed on the ashes; Roth does not make of them an excuse for one of his patented ten-page diversions.

Jan 18, 2006
Category: Film, Film Responses, Words

For the Artist’s Sake

E. L. Doctorow delivered the following speech before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee in the fall of 1981. Given the on-going budget battles in Congress, Doctorow’s words are also more than a bit timely.

Nov 22, 2005
Category: Words

Random Thoughts Inspired by Time’s List of 100 Great Novels

You know, I’ve spent the better part of the last decade reading and studying 20th century lit, and I’ve still only read 27 of the best 100 books. Where did I go wrong?

Oct 21, 2005
Category: Words

Haruki Murakami

The fall semester of my ESL class kicked off last night, and we began with a discussion of Haruki Murakami’s “The Elephant Vanishes,” which is, quite frankly, one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read.

Sep 23, 2005
Category: Words

The Moviegoer (1962)

If you’re reading this in the future — say, you’ve wandered here via some poof of Google magic — you should know that if I were to turn on my television right now (now being the afternoon of September 2, 2005), I’d flip past image after image after image of destruction, violence, and misery.

Sep 2, 2005
Category: Book Reviews, Words

A Few Words on . . .

Week in Review: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, John Vanderslice, DeLillo, Hornby, Jarmusch, and The Battle of Algiers

Aug 28, 2005
Category: Film, Film Responses, Music, Words

So We Beat On . . .

I love how, despite his disgust and anger, Nick is still moved by the vision — how he is unable to ignore its beauty while also acknowledging the human misery that now populates the land. This one paragraph, in both tone and theme, is the entire novel in concentrated form. Amazing.

Jul 29, 2005
Category: Words

Great Critics (And the Rest of Us)

Yesterday I made the mistake of pulling Christopher Bigsby’s latest book from the library shelf. Arthur Miller: A Critical Study (2005) will, I assume, be Bigsby’s final statement on Miller.

Jul 14, 2005
Category: Drama, Words

The Same as It Ever Was

That Mailer’s opinion of the corporate executive echoes exactly D.J. Jethroe’s is no coincidence, for this selective amnesia — this sense that all is permissible so long as it is state-sanctioned, to the benefit of American markets, and hidden from plain view — is, according to Mailer, precisely why America was in Vietnam.

Jul 8, 2005
Category: Words

Kushner on Miller

“Although he refused the mechanical determinism of the unthinking Marxist left, he created in his greatest play a drama in which it is impossible to avoid thinking about economics–money–in any attempt to render coherent the human tragedy unfolding before you.”

May 26, 2005
Category: Drama, Words