Books

I Rediscovered Lynne Cheney's Forgotten Feminist Novel

Her feuding daughters could learn a lot from it

And her feuding daughters could actually learn a lot from it.

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From her obituaries, and the serious critical assessments of her work, I hardly recognize the Doris Lessing I knew. I don’t fault the obit writers (I used to be one) or critics and admirers for attempting the tricky job of collating into a coherent narrative the Bunyanesque episodes and human contradictions in Lessing’s life and work. Indeed, it was not the later “Great Author” who I knew, but a young, romantic, passionate, fiercely ambitious single mother pounding away at a portable typewriter trying—as we all did—to keep it together.

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Doris Lessing takes risks, but does not play games. One does not turn to her books for humor or wit or playfulness, nor will one find in them any game playing in the sense of one-upping, faking, posturing. In her introductory remarks to Shikasta she states with characteristic straightforwardness what she sees as the modern novelist's debt to science fiction.

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When Religion Had a Mind

The history of philosophical religion

All religions have one thing in common: philosophy.

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Someone not named P.G. Wodehouse has just written a new Bertie and Jeeves novel, and Wodehouse fans should worry.

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It is time, at long last, for me to admit publicly a dark secret that has haunted me since adolescence. In high school, I worked at a Renaissance Faire. Every weekend I woke up, put on my corset, and sold sherbet stuffed into oranges from a cart outside of a jousting arena.

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A new look at the lost history of one of America's lowest moments

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Daniel Alarcón's Haunting Political Fiction

The case for South America's continued importance

The Peruvian-born novelist Daniel Alarcón has become one of the most important modern voices for the countries south of the border.

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The Italian classic that is the least known masterpiece of European Literature

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What Jane Austen Would Have Thought About the Kardashians

Pretension remains the greatest social crime—and authenticity the greatest virtue.

She loved authenticity, chided pretension, and may well have loved them.

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