September 5, 2013 |
The Virgins A Novel Pamela Erens Tin House: 288 pp., $15.95 paper It's rare to find a book that summons the delicate emotional state of teenagers - especially when it comes to sex - without being precious or cynical, but Pamela Erens' "The Virgins" beautifully manages that feat. "It sounds laughably dramatic, but don't underestimate the metaphysical yearnings of a seventeen-year-old," the book's preppy narrator reminds us. "We beginners experienced sex as psyche more than body, as vulnerability and power, exposure and flight, being consumed, saved, transfigured.
August 15, 2013 |
Partway through Marisha Pessl's second novel, "Night Film," I began to feel as if I had been taken hostage by the book. This, I should hasten to add, is not its intent. The saga of a legendary film director, Stanislas Cordova, and the suicide of his 24-year-old daughter, Ashley, "Night Film" is willfully portentous, claustrophobic even, a novel that means to explore hidden meanings, in which each turn seems to unveil another layer until illusion and reality begin to merge. It is also, at 600-plus pages, at least a third too long, an overwrought narrative that hints at much but delivers little and, for all its feints and twists, remains surprisingly unsuspenseful in the end. Pessl is the much-lauded author of "Special Topics in Calamity Physics," which the New York Times Book Review selected as one of the 10 best books of 2006.
June 14, 2012 |
If life were a movie, the president of the United States (probably played by Will Smith) would be leaping into action to save humankind from the calamity that a new scientific report says is about to befall the Earth. A paper prepared by 22 international scientists and just published in the journal Nature warns that overpopulation, environmental destruction and climate change have pushed the world toward a tipping point beyond which lie irreversible,...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 4, 2012 |
Stubborn does not come close to describing the desert tortoise, a species that did its evolving more than 220 million years ago and has since remained resolutely prehistoric. Its slowpoke take on biological adaptation has exposed modern vulnerabilities. The persnickety reptile is today beset by respiratory infections and prone to disease. Its only defenses are the shell on its back and the scent of its unspeakably foul urine. FOR THE RECORD: The subheadline on an earlier online version of this article erred in describing the desert tortoises as "endangered creatures.
March 19, 2011 |
Kazuhisa Takeuchi was taking advantage of a rare moment of calm between the afternoon and evening shifts at his Sendai dialysis clinic, chatting on the telephone with a colleague about a patient, when he felt himself lifted from his chair by a force immediately recognizable to anybody who grew up in this part of Japan. "Earthquake, bye," the 55-year-old doctor said, slamming down the receiver. When the unearthly shaking had ended, everything in his office was on the floor ?
October 25, 2010 |
Americans like to think of themselves as bold. It was boldness that gave birth to the country, built it, protected it from external threat and rescued it in times of domestic turbulence. Americans are proud of dreaming big and taking big chances, and as far as individual feats go, it may be true. But the larger truth is that, foreign military adventurism aside, the American government hasn't really acted boldly since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society.