June 28, 2009 |
"The world which is being pictured by the story writers of today . . . is, by and large, and vividly, this day's, this troubled minute's, world." So Wilbur Daniel Steele wrote in the introduction to the 1943 edition of "The O. Henry Prize Stories." Created 90 years ago as a memorial to the twist-as-ending master whose real name was William Sydney Porter, the idea was to spotlight 20 or so works each year while singling out a top three.
April 20, 2003 |
When I arrived in Havana on Jan. 2, 1959, Fidel Castro had not yet entered the Cuban capital. He was advancing slowly by jeep along a victory route from Santiago, accompanied by a dove trained to stay on his shoulder. He would interrupt his speeches along the way with a rhetorical question: "Am I going the right way, Camilo?" The question was ostensibly addressed to Camilo Cienfuegos, his second in command during the revolution, but in a sense it was also addressed to all Cubans.
May 13, 2007 |
IN her novel "Delirium," the Colombian writer Laura Restrepo attempts to write about madness from the inside and outside all at once. Set primarily in Bogota, the book operates from a simple premise: A former university professor named Aguilar returns home from a short trip to find that his wife, Agustina, has shrugged off the mantle of her sanity.
May 28, 2004 |
Genocidal mass murder continues to foul the world. So do large-scale massacres of civilians and brutal executions. Yet the foulest epithet in any language -- "Nazi" -- is hurled not against any of the perpetrators of those crimes but, uniquely and systematically, against Israel. It's not as if the real horrors are hard to find.
October 3, 2008 |
In Fernando Meirelles' land of the blind, the one-eyed man isn't king -- the morally degenerate opportunist is. After a mysterious plague of sightlessness strikes an anonymous city, a shadowy Orwellian government quarantines the afflicted in a decommissioned sanitarium, leaving them to duke it out over an ever-dwindling supply of TV dinners.
December 3, 2004 |
Telling Tales Edited by Nadine Gordimer Picador: 306 pp., $14 paper * AIDS in America may seem less threatening than it was a decade ago -- although rising numbers of sexually transmitted diseases and the long-term failure of some AIDS-related treatments suggest such complacency is misplaced -- but it continues to rage elsewhere. Worldwide, "40 million ...
February 9, 2004 |
Imagination is a mysterious faculty, essential not only to the creation of art but also to the life of the mind itself. As the author of many acclaimed works of science fiction (perhaps a more accurate term would be fantasy), Ursula K. Le Guin knows a great deal about the workings of imagination and how important it is in transforming the raw material of experience into something new and strange.
March 3, 2000 |
After a ferocious five-year battle that drew in environmentalists, a Nobel Prize winner and Hollywood stars, the Mexican government and Mitsubishi Corp. announced Thursday that they were canceling plans for a giant saltworks in Baja California Sur. In a surprise announcement, President Ernesto Zedillo said the government had withdrawn its support from the venture because it would alter the stunning landscape of arid desert.
January 28, 2005 |
Calling it a matter of international security, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday exhorted poor countries and thousands of activists gathered here to put pressure on rich nations to do more to eradicate global poverty. But even as he addressed delegates to the World Social Forum, an annual conference of activists and thinkers from around the globe, a determined group of about 50 radicals heckled the leader of Latin America's largest country.
May 24, 2009 |
Is Jose Manuel Prieto swanning after Marcel Proust in his novel "Rex"? After all, his narrator's account of temps perdu is saturated with homage to The Writer, whose Book he used as the basic curriculum to tutor a young man whose parents may have been Russian mobsters, hiding out in a mansion on Spain's Costa del Sol.