Tag Archives: Balkans

“I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.” Happy Birthday, Rebecca West

It is hard to talk about her without referencing the generations of writers she inspired, all of whom admit their debt to her. Robert Kaplan is the most open about it (his Balkan Ghosts, which launched his career, has him … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Emir Kusturica

This Bosnian-born Serbian filmmaker will have my love forever for his film Arizona Dream, his first American film, starring Faye Dunaway, Johnny Depp, Lili Taylor, Jerry Lewis, and Vincent Gallo. I wrote about it for my Film Comment column. The … Continue reading

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June 28, 1914: “But if ever a man went anywhere of his own free will, Franz Ferdinand went to Sarajevo.”

June 28, 1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie – setting out in their motorcade in Sarajevo that fateful morning, as the assassins, unseen, move into position. Here are two excerpts from Rebecca West’s towering Black Lamb and Grey … Continue reading

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R.I.P. Dubravka Ugrešić

I return to her The Museum of Unconditional Surrender again and again. A classic in the canon of books dealing with being forced to live in exile. But there are so many other books: Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, Culture … Continue reading

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2021 Books Read

I lived at three addresses this year. I moved twice. In the middle of a pandemic. It’s been a year of upheaval, transition, as well as endurance. For most of this year, the majority of my stuff was in storage. … Continue reading

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November 2021 Viewing Diary

The Wire, half of Season 3 This is the busiest time of year in re: film-critic-land, so had to stop my re-watch of The Wire to make room for new releases. I’ll get back to it! All Is Forgiven (2007; … Continue reading

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Recommended Books: Non-Fiction

I have been meaning to do a Part 2 to my Recommended Books: Fiction list – put together years ago. I wanted to recommend non-fiction, from history books to biographies to essays to whatever. Here is the Non-Fiction list. I’ve … Continue reading

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Bookshelf Tour #9

The books of Robert Conquest: first and foremost his masterpiece, one of the most important books of the 20th century: The Great Terror: A Reassessment, but also Reflections on a Ravaged Century, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the … Continue reading

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The Books: Arguably, ‘Rebecca West: Things Worth Fighting For’, by Christopher Hitchens

On the essays shelf: Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens How do you “explain” Rebecca West? Especially to those who haven’t heard of her? Never mind the fact that it’s so strange and wrong that her name doesn’t resonate at the … Continue reading

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2013 Books Read

It’s been a hell of a year. Devastating as well as redemptive. I started it out in Memphis, and end it here in New Jersey. And now my new niece Pearl has arrived! It’s been both a busy year as … Continue reading

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