Ida Mayfield Wood in the 1860s. From The Recluse of Herald Square. Ida Wood never had any intention of renewing contact with the outside world, but on March 5, 1931, death made it necessary. At four…
The first story Maya wrote was about a world in which people split themselves in two instead of reproducing. In that world, every person could, at any given moment, turn into two beings, each one…
I prepared for my first-ever trip to Japan, this summer, almost entirely by immersing myself in the work of Haruki Murakami. This turned out to be a horrible idea. Under the influence of Murakami, I arrived in Tokyo expecting Barcelona or Paris or Berlin — a cosmopolitan world capital whose straight-talking citizens were fluent not only in English but also in all the nooks and crannies of Western culture: jazz, theater, literature, sitcoms, film noir, opera, rock ’n’ roll. But this, as really anyone else in the world could have told you, is not what Japan is like at all. Japan — real, actual, visitable Japan — turned out to be intensely, inflexibly, unapologetically Japanese.
The highway out of Hyderabad towards Kothur village was still being worked on, with new overpasses and exits being constructed next to the lanes that were open to traffic. Vijay and I were halfway to our destination when we saw the man appear, standing in the middle of the road and waving us down. We were traveling fast, moving much too quickly to understand immediately what the man’s appearance meant. A few days earlier, on this same road, we had been stopped by two police constables. Assigned to guard duty at another point on the highway and left to fend for their own transportation, all the men had wanted was a lift. But the figure in front of us now was not in uniform, and his objective was far less clear, although I had the impression that he was part of the knotted confusion of people and cars that had sprung up suddenly on the smooth thread of the highway.
PUBLISHED: Sept. 3, 2011
LENGTH: 27 minutes (6944 words)
It is hard to think of another writer as great as Mark Twain who did so many things that even merely good writers are not supposed to do. Great writers are not meant to write bad books, much less publish them. Twain not only published a lot of bad books, he doesn’t appear to have noticed the difference between his good ones and his bad ones. Great writers are not meant to care more about money than art. Twain cared so much about money that what little he writes about his art in his autobiography is almost entirely, and obsessively, about the business end of things: his paychecks, his promotional tours, his financial disputes with publishers, his venture capital investments in publishing and printing technology.