The word "haunting" could be used to describe many of the short stories in Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. The collection is by Yiyun Li, who emigrated from Beijing to the United States in the 1990s, and received the prestigious MacArthur "genius" grant in 2010.
With the backdrop of a nation moving from isolation to openness, Li's characters deal with universal struggles such as loneliness, regret, love and loss. And often, they're not who they may appear to be.
Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 11:45 am
Some people suffer from recurring nightmares about being naked on stage, or not having revised for their exams. My bedtime terror is different — I'm gripped with fear that I haven't fed or watered my childhood budgie, with potentially devastating consequences. I loved that bird, Joey, so much, despite the fact that she unmasked herself as female after I'd named her, I still have a tiny box filled with her discarded green feathers. I've never owned a pet as an adult. I prefer animals in novels to avoid the horror of finding two cold, clutched feet in the air.
Ask Harry Dolan to take you for lunch at a restaurant he's written about, and he won't disappoint. In downtown Ann Arbor, Mich., on Liberty Street, the vegetarian restaurant Seva serves mushroom sliders and yam fries that both the crime writer and his characters are quite fond of. With any luck, you'll also catch the perfect song playing in the background — "Psycho Killer" by the Talking Heads.
Next time you're admiring a 19th century American master painting at a museum or auction house, take a closer look. What looks like an authentic creation complete with cracks and yellowing varnish could actually be the work of forger Ken Perenyi.
Perenyi made millions of dollars over 30 years with more than 1,000 forgeries, allowing him to jet set around the world. His highest earning work was a Martin Johnson Heade forgery that sold for more than $700,000.
If there's one thing that HBO's The Newsroom is especially good at, it's portraying journalists who aren't especially good at journalism.
Well, maybe that's not fair. The fact is, they haven't had much opportunity to engage in journalism, since every major story that's come their way has been cracked not through know-how, persistence and telephonic grunt work but through the fortuitous involvement of people with whom the fictional News Night staffers happen to already be good buddies.
Hanna Pylvainen's debut novel, We Sinners, is about a large — very large — family that belongs to a small religious sect in Finland originating in the dim distant past. The sect, Laestadianism, calls for very strictly regulated behavior — think Amish, with possible overtones of Lutheran, purified by a schism or two. The novel is told from the point of view of family members, each of whom get a chapter, and the story goes forward in time with each person.
After 12 years writing a column on ethics, Randy Cohen is convinced ethics is not a moving target, unique to time or place.
"I believe there are a set of principles that are so profound and so essentially moral that if I were just slightly smarter and slightly more eloquent, I could travel everywhere and persuade everyone that they should apply," he tells Weekend Edition guest host Linda Wertheimer.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a two-word phrase in which one of the words starts with W and the other word is the same with the W removed. For example, if you were given the clue "desires scurrying insects," the answer would be "wants ants."