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.
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 In a surprise announcement, President Ernesto Zedillo said the government had withdrawn its support from the venture because it would alter the stunning landscape of arid desert.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.
May 18, 2002 |
Judas is the New Testament's dark angel. The Gospel of John puts him in the shadows, an appropriate place for a figure who's a smudge of dirt on the luminous story of the New Testament. He's also a bundle of contradictions: Fierce and menacing, he sent his savior off to execution with a kiss, so willing was he to trade reward in the hereafter for cash in the here and now.
September 3, 2008 |
Abitter political-cultural confrontation that exploded in Nicaragua in late August could mark the final end of the passionate romance between the world's leftist intellectuals and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. Ortega, you may recall, was the leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front when it seized power after overthrowing the 40-year Somoza family dynasty. A dashing young revolutionary who electrified liberals and leftists around the world, Ortega served as Nicaragua's president for most of the 1980s.