You smile too much, an Iranian friend chastised California-born journalist Azadeh Moaveni shortly after she moved to Tehran in 2000. Despite the reforms of the “Khatami spring,” corrupt Islamic fundamentalists were still in charge, and ordinary Iranians knew better than to drop their guard. Since the 1979 revolution they’d taken to heart the lesson learned […]
In a country mired in . . . steeped in . . . no–burdened by history, Bernd Willenbrock lives in the present. He concerns himself with buying and selling used cars, getting women to sleep with him, and keeping up a companionable if superficial connection with his wife. But over the course of Christoph Hein’s […]
Mark Salzman, author of the memoir Iron & Silk, the novel Lying Awake, and three other books, visited a friend’s writing workshop at Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles for a purely selfish reason–to gain some insight into juvenile delinquents for a problematic novel in progress. He soon committed himself to teaching classes there twice […]
It’s easy to forget that after the Islamic revolution of 1979 there was more than a year of flux in Iran, amid the violence, when issues were debated and University of Tehran classes were filled with women in veils as well as female Marxists in khaki pants and loose shirts. In such a class Iranian-born […]
Catherine Scherer is one of the city’s most prolific and accomplished writers. That doesn’t mean anyone has ever heard of her.
Front Row for an Appearance by Anna Deavere Smith
In the early 1950s, Ika Hugel-Marshall lived in a small town in Bavaria with her mother, stepfather, and younger stepsister. Her family was white, and she assumed she was too, just as they all spoke German and lived in the same house. All the townspeople were white–the postman, the children she played with, the neighbors […]
The steelworker’s son was in graduate school when he got the news. His father, who was a retired pipe fitter and millwright, had pain in his back. The doctors found black spots on his kidneys and lungs, and thought it might be cancer. So the son, Bob Bruno, left New York University and went home […]
It began–well, who knows when the conflict began? That’s part of the problem. The religious might say it began with Abraham and his sons Isaac and Ishmael. Flash forward some thousands of years to September 28, 2000, and Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount plaza, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the […]
Even the postman cried. Like a lot of other people that summer who had seen Susan McLaughlin Karp balloon to 204 pounds, he asked her, “Did you have the baby yet?” He burst into tears when she said, “The baby died.” Everyone–her agent, her dog walker–was “wiped out by one sentence. You feel like Godzilla […]
Anna O. is famous as the first person to benefit from psychoanalysis, but the fascinations of her life don’t stop there.
Winter 1995: Cafe Avanti on Southport Seth, almost eight, falls off his chair. Again. His father warns him: “Twenty minutes.” Meaning: 20 minutes time-out when they get home. Jesse, his twin, sits across from Seth, next to me. Their mother is at a brunch. One boy orders a square of cold pizza, the other, hot. […]
We are in love but you don’t know it. You are slow on some of these ordinary things; you grow angry when I mention liberation theology, Adam Smith’s unseen hand, proposals to ban land mines–things I thought everyone knew about, were in the atmosphere, but you are impervious to them, breathing your own mist. You […]
By S.L. Wisenberg “Shulamis,” the teacher says, as I knew she would, “vos herstu?” Shulamis is my Yiddish name and the Yiddish teacher is asking what I hear, meaning, “What do you have to report?” The class nearly always begins this way, round-robin, like group therapy, like consciousness-raising. It’s all female, it so happens, though […]
We feast, we fast, we hate ourselves in the morning: what is it about us and food?