In 2012, a slew of rock-star writers published disappointing novels, and a bunch of actual rock stars wrote crappy memoirs. There were some bright corners, but let’s begin with the aging rock stars. Time is not on their side.
Home (Knopf, 160 pp., $24.00) Toni Morrison’s tenth novel, is about the ironically named Frank Money (he doesn’t have any), an embittered, alcoholic veteran of the Korean War who travels south through segregated America to return to Lotus, Ga., the “home” of the book’s title, where “there [is] no future, just long stretches of killing time.” I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the description of Lotus could also serve as an account of the island occupied by Homer’s lotus-eaters. For more than four decades, Ms. Morrison’s fiction has been populated by ghosts and monsters—both real and metaphorical. She turns to the recent past, thereby conjuring the very distant past, in order to communicate something people don’t know about the present. When it is successful, her writing has a sense of myth.
On a damp evening in May, the great and the gray trooped up the marble stairs of one of New York City’s most hallowed institutions, the New York Public Library, for its centennial celebration. A smorgasbord of talent had been hired to showcase the library’s varied nature, including an outdoor electric harpist, the Abyssinian Baptist Read More
Intellectuals, unite. This fall, the ideas and ideologies will be flying at New York museums. Here’s a look at some of the more important, or interesting, lectures and readings coming up.
The Morgan Library & Museum
Reading Mark Twain
Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
$30 for non-members
Taiye Selasi’s first novel may not be finished, but Salman Rushdie and Toni Morrison already approve.
The version of Selasi’s Ghana Must Go that Andrew Wylie sold this week to Ann Godoff at Penguin Press consisted of a hundred or so pages plus an outline. Even so, Wylie was wooing publishers by saying he would Read More
In a company-wide memo sent to Random House staff this afternoon—labeled "a very different memo" by company spokesman Stuart Applebaum when he forwarded it to media—Markus Dohle turned a spotlight upon Random House’s strong presence on year-end book lists published this week by The Toronto Globe and Mail and The New York Times Read More
By Toni Morrison
Alfred A. Knopf, 167 pages, $23.95
We are a nation of orphans. It’s our New World inheritance. White, black, red, we’re fatherless, motherless. The whites orphaned themselves, leaving behind the Old World, its comforts and strictures, for a trackless wilderness. The blacks were stolen from their homes, packed into slave Read More
At around 7:45 p.m. on Monday, April 28, writer Carl Bernstein was mingling at the cocktail hour before the PEN Literary Awards at the Museum of Natural History, Coca Cola in hand, looking very healthy. “I ride a bike and listen to a lot of music,” he said. “I mostly listen to classical but also Read More
A Meal Observed, by Andrew Todhunter. Alfred A. Knopf, 228 pages, $23.
There are as many ways to write about food as there are recipes for apple pie. When Toni Morrison describes someone at work in a kitchen, you start to salivate-a neat trick, but that’s actually only the beginning of her remarkable talent. Read More
“Novelist” is too fragile a title for Toni Morrison. She’s more like a continent, or at least a landmass-solid, impregnable, a blunt fact. Book reviews won’t budge her: One can’t imagine her noticing them. Her indifference-even if it’s only an imagined indifference-
exposes the triviality of literary journalism. (Last week’s reverential profile in The New Read More