Two writers, both of whom left the orthodox fold, discuss the roles memory & imagination play in both fiction & memoir.
“Why does he always go to other countries?” she asks while chewing a pistachio. I stroke her head and say, “Don’t eat and talk at the same time, pumpkin, you can choke.” She swallows silently, then immediately asks, “Daddy, if you build buildings, what do you need a gun for?”
Much like the swashbuckling heroes of his popular novels, author Mark Helprin has led a life of great adventure. As a young man, Helprin served in the Israeli army, the Israeli air force and the British merchant navy, and he’s earned his living as an agricultural laborer, a factory worker, a military adviser, a Wall Street Journal columnist, a political speechwriter and much more.
Leonardo Padura’s Heretics is a remarkable book. Padura, who is certainly the most prominent of a small number of Jewish Cuban authors, might also be the most famous writer in Cuba today. Best known in this country for his Inspector Mario Conde detective series…
A conversation with novelist Michael Chabon can easily jump from Michael Jackson song lyrics to the history of spaceships. And while his love of all things quixotic can be a lot to digest, his intellectual openness and curiosity have resulted in a compelling and innovative body of work.
The earliest comedy I remember with any clarity was created by a famous tragic clown, a circus performer whose painted mouth was perpetually turned down in a frown. Left out of the spotlight, he carried a sledgehammer and ran after the other clowns who wouldn’t have anything to do with him.