Monthly Archives: March 2015

Erdrich Charts a Third Way for Fantasy

L. Frank Baum and Edgar Allen Poe represent the light and the dark strains of American fantasy. But Louise Erdrich introduces a third strain, Native American, to the conversation.

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Ted Cruz’s Starring Role in “The Crucible”

Can you guess what role Ted Cruz played in “The Crucible” when in law school? And what does the play have to do with the color of the dress?

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Replacing the Temple with the Torah

Nicole Krauss’s marvelous novel “Great House” finds hope in the Torah, which takes many forms.

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Robert Durst’s Iago-Like Soliloquy

How to interpret suspected murderer Robert Durst’s enigmatic words on “The Jinx”? Shakespeare’s villains point the way.

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Train Surfing: Thrilling but Chilling

Thrill seekers have begun using cityscapes as an arena. As Ruth Rendell warns in “King Solomon’s Carpet,” sometimes they don’t survive.

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How To Reflect upon the Death Penalty

Our motivations for executing prisoners too often have little to do with justice. Cormac McCarthy understands this well in “All the Pretty Horses.”

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GOP Budget Proposes Gruel Cuts

Mean-spirited legislators who seek to cut food stamps and other programs for the poor bear more than a little resemblance to the workhouse authorities in “Oliver Twist.”

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When American Fantasies Are Dangerous

The denial of reality that has taken over certain segments of the GOP is well described by Neil Gaiman in “American Gods.” America has a long tradition of such fantasizing.

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From the Dark, Cold Grime a Flower Comes

Mary Ann Bernard shows spring coming only with difficulty–but being all the more meaningful because of that.

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