The music of Tchaikovsky loomed large in New York’s orchestral life over the past several weeks, but it was not always well served. At Carnegie Hall, Franz Welser-Möst conducted the Cleveland Orchestra in a freeze-dried performance of the searing Sixth Symphony; farther uptown, Lorin Maazel and the brass section of the New York Philharmonic blasted Read More
By Philip Roth
Houghton Mifflin, 304 pages, $26
What to do when the best living American novelist writes a weak book? The New Yorker solved the problem (in the Oct. 1 issue) with an extended Q&A, allowing Hermione Lee to caress the author with feather-soft questions. That’s one way to help a Read More
The last decade and more of American public life will be remembered, among other things, for the triumph of euphemism. Not only did bellicosity become “moral clarity” and military invasion turn into the promotion of freedom, but many issues on the domestic front were strategically rebranded as well: Religious charities became “faith-based initiatives,” netting in Read More
I spent a couple days in New York city this week, including an obligatory meeting with a pseudo-friend. If you don’t live in New York, you might not know what a pseudofriend is. New York is full of them. These are the people who want to get out of you a lot of the benefits Read More
I spent a couple days in New York, including meeting with a pseudo-friend. If you don’t live in New York, you might not know what a pseudofriend is. New York is full of them. These are the people who want to get out of you a lot of the benefits of a friendship—the exchange of Read More
You know the drill. Every year it starts a little bit early: the press releases, the articles, the low level buzz—mostly amid the publicists who write the press releases and the reporters who dutifully recap them. Yes, it’s Time‘s ‘Person of Year’ time again, and if the consensus mongers are to be believed, Read More
Who We Are: On Being (and Not Being) a Jewish American Writer, edited by Derek Rubin. Schocken Books, 348 pages, $25.
When I entered college, in the mid-1960′s, my freshman class was asked to read two books over the summer: Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King was one of them. In freshman English, along with Read More
Judy Blume snarled! Whatever will we tell our kids? At a cocktail reception an hour before she was to become the first children’s-book author ever awarded the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters on Nov. 17, the cherished queen bee of kid lit bared her teeth at what we frankly thought Read More
The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth. Houghton Mifflin, 391 pages, $26.
A little more than 15 years ago, Philip Roth published a slim, peculiar book called The Facts: A Novelist’s Autobiography, which consisted of a brief letter from “Roth” to his fictional alter ego, Zuckerman; an airbrushed memoir of the author’s first 55 Read More
1) Mr. Roth Meets Mr. Lindbergh
When I got the news that a galley of the new Philip Roth novel was available, I raced down to the Union Square offices of Houghton Mifflin. It was late in the day, so by the time I got there, the offices were closed, but they’d been kind enough Read More