The Rebranding Of Sylvia Plath →
(not an article) New Hampshire Public Radio, May 13, 2013- my discussion of the ongoing reconsideration of Sylvia Plath, on the 50th anniversary of her death, on “Word of Mouth,” with moderator Virginia Prescott.
The "Klinghoffer pillow" (5/15/13) | What My... →
When I was in college, in the 1980s, my roommates and friends would occasionally get care packages from home—chocolate-chip cookies, an Easter box, a scarf, earrings, a new coat, or whatever it may have been. But my mother, who is deeply loving and irrepressibly creative, has an ironic sensibility (which she transferred to me in my tenderest youth) and is also a workaholic, so I never expected to...
New Book Reveals Postwar Germany's Nazi Party Ties... →
An interview feature with the German journalist Malte Herwig, about his new book, “Die Flakhelfer,” which shows how, for decades, postwar German leaders suppressed records of prominent citizens’ Nazi pasts, with the acquiescence of the U.S. government.
Seeing Sylvia Plath With New Eyes - Cultural... →
Reported essay: poets discuss the importance of broadening Sylvia Plath’s legacy, on the 50th anniversary of her suicide. They seek to emphasize her craft and work, not her biography. Includes a discussion of Elizabeth Winder’s new book on Plath’s 1953 summer in New York, “Pain, Parties, Work.”
ESSAY ON AMANDA KNOX, UPON HER 2009 CONVICTION...
LET HER EAT BISCOTTI: REFLECTIONS ON THE MURDER TRIAL OF THE AMERICAN STUDENT AMANDA KNOX IN ITALY By Liesl Schillinger The foreign interloper was loathed by native patriots, who proudly, angrily festooned themselves with the colors of their nation’s flag as they condemned her. The popular press branded her as a frivolous, self-involved spendthrift, a sexual deviant and a cruel wildcat,...
The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud →
My review of Claire Messud’s seething and arresting new novel, about a furious woman in her 40s who risked too little, early; and too much, later on.
WNYC News - Six Months After Sandy: Calm in the... →
My essay on WNYC, marking the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy; recalling the storm and the day after, and my forty-block walk through the silent city from my (unharmed) East Village tenement up to midtown—where I found an unexpected idyll.
The Year of the Cat -Books of Style →
VIPcats…2013 marks a feline apotheosis, in which cats are writing books, dazzling fans at SXSW, starring in TV shows, and appearing on the covers of magazines…as well as in the new, improved Monopoly game.
Madbeth: Alan Cumming's Vertiginous Spin on... →
What will he do next? Liesl Schillinger gets caught up in Alan Cumming’s whirling rendition of Macbeth—and Lady Macbeth, and Duncan, Banquo, Macduff, etc—in a suspenseful new production of the Scottish play.
Turning to Tolstoy 's "Hadji Murad" As Boston... →
During the aftermath of the Boston bombing, finding refuge in Tolstoy’s potent, lyric, enveloping short novel about the Chechen rebel leader”Hadji Murad,” set in the mountains of the Northern Caucasus, more than a century ago.
"The Interestings," by Meg Wolitzer →
My review of “The Interestings,” Meg Wolitzer’s newest—and best—novel. NYTBR April 21, 2013.
On the Trail of the Bebop Baroness (Newsweek/Daily... →
My review of a new bio of Pannonica (Nica) Rothschild de Koenigswarter-the rebellious, jazz-obsessed heiress (and former Free French Army warrior during WWII) who left her husband and five children so she could move to New York and devote herself to bebop. She spent three decades in the thrall of Thelonious Monk and the giants of modern jazz.
Miami, My Way (NYT Travel, Mar. 24, 2013) →
My love song to Miami, Dade County and Key Largo’s untrendiest—but most enduring— attractions.
GEN-X vs. BOOMERS (Washington Post -Outlook,...
Johnnie sat in the crib, clutching a Fisher-Price fun-box and absent-mindedly punching a beep button on its top. He smiled broadly, rolled over a stuffed Curious George doll, dropped the fun-box and turned his attention to the bright dinosaurs circling in a mobile overhead, clamped to a corner of the crib. Johnnie was sucking on a beer, a few beads of which had dropped down onto his...
Empresses of Fantasy (NYTBR Dec. 14, 2012) →
Review of the excellent bio of Diana Vreeland, “Empress of Fashion,” by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart; plus “The Eye Has to Travel” (photo book on Vreeland by Lisa Immordino Vreeland) plus Grace Coddington’s memoir “Grace.”
Master of Us All: Balenciaga (NYT Styles, Jan. 27,... →
Review of Mary Blume’s biography of Cristóbal Balenciaga, which brings this distinguished, close-mouthed couturier to life. Balenciaga worked devotedly to let cloth and cut disguise a multitude of flaws in order to make mature women look beautiful. Blume has been able to add rare personal detail to the record through long conversations with Balenciaga’s chief vendeuse for thirty...
Books of Styles: Counterintuitive New Year's... →
Round-up for Books of Style of three counter-intuitive new motivational books to aid in confronting the New Year head on—“The Beauty Experiment,” by Phoebe Baker Hyde, “Wheat Belly Cookbook,” by Dr. William Davis; and “Making Habits, Breaking Habits,” by Jeremy Dean.
Cost of Care ( review of ME BEFORE YOU, by Jojo... →
Review of “Me Before You,” an emotional typhoon of a novel about a young working class woman who becomes the caretaker of a formerly strong-willed and lucky dynamo of a young man …who has been paralyzed in a road accident. by Jojo Moyes.
Soviet Dreams ("Happy Moscow," by Andrei Platonov)... →
Review of a fresh retranslation of Andrei Platonov’s cheerily grim Soviet-era allegory “Happy Moscow”— a book that likely will fascinate scholars of the period, while tormenting lay readers.
CHRISTMAS IN MOSCOW-2012 (Roads and Kingdoms... →
Postcard on the Yuletide spirit (Yule as in ‘yolki’—fir-tree) in post-Communist Moscow, where fur hats and festive holiday tchotchkes made of glass, wood and porcelain rustle at you from snowy cobbled streets and in glinting high-end malls.
HOLIDAY READING: SOME HOMEWORK REQUIRED (Books of... →
Holiday round-up of fun, fashionable, festive, and fiendish (i.e., the newly released collection of “Golden Age” murder mysteries by Dorothy L Sayers) reading for the gifting season.
Character Study:Broadway Star Nina Arianda's... →
Interview feature for Wall Street Journal (“Meet the Parents” rubric), about the parents of the Broadway sensation Nina Arianda— Lesia and Peter Matijcio. (Nina dropped the hard-to-pronounce last name for career purposes.) Her parents are Ukrainian and are very proud of their heritage and of their daughter. Their families immigrated to the U.Ss from Europe in the 1940s, but...
The Disunited States of America (English text of...
ELECTION 2012: THE DISUNITED STATES OF AMERICA or A Nation’s Double Vision: the Democrats’ American Dream vs. the GOP’s American Nightmare By Liesl Schillinger (appeared 10/24/12 in the Estonian newspaper “Eesti Päevaleht,” translated from my English by Külli-Riin Tigasson. This is my original text) On the evening of October 2nd, I stood among hundreds of...
A Two-Continent Hostess (Susan Mary Alsop bio) NYT... →
Books of Style on Caroline de Margerie’s captivating book “AMERICAN LADY”, a biography of the sparkling and politically engaged hostess Susan Mary Alsop (née Jay, first marriage Patten)—a social linchpin in diplomatic and social circles in Paris from 1945 to 1960, and in Washington D.C. after 1961. She was fictionalized by her friend (frenemy?) Nancy Mitford as liking to see...
Getting through Sandy, with a Little Help from... →
Essay about seeing the new production of the musical ANNIE the weekend after Hurricane Sandy…and the morning after power returned to the East Village. Tied to reminiscence of first seeing the show in 1980.
THE RED HOOK INITIATIVE (fugue-unpublished...
JILL EISENHARD AND THE RED HOOK INITIATIVE [Note: ages and jobs/school-years of those mentioned here pertain to 2009, not 2012) DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES In 1999, an idealistic 24-year-old named Jill Eisenhard arrived in Brooklyn from rural, western New York and took a job as a reproductive health educator at the busy, urban Long Island College Hospital. Soon, she noticed that most of the...
Among the Ghosts of Imperial Russia (NYT Styles,... →
Books of Style column on the lingering echo of imperial power in post-Communist, Putin-era Russia. In 2012 (the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s doomed 1812 invasion of Russia) two new books evoke Russia’s storied Imperial past: Douglas Smith’s splendid social history “Former People,” about the historic Russian noble families that the Bolsheviks erased when they...
Fasten Your Seatbelts: "Who's Afraid of Virginia... →
Review of the wrenching Steppenwolf Theatre Company production of Edward Albee’s play, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”-which reopened on Broadway at the Booth on Oct. 13, the 50th anniversary of its New York premiere.
FUGUE: Quick review of the screwball comedy film...
Preston Sturges, watch your back! Jonathan Lisecki is to be applauded for his riotously funny (yet warm-centered) screwball comedy GAYBY, about a bikram yoga teacher (Jenn Harris) who resolves to have a baby with her gay best friend from college (Matt Wilkas). (Boy is that woman limber, the yoga scenes filled me with awe…) I love their friendship (the pre-Instagram college party-pic photo...
Riding Like Susan B. Anthony (NYT Thursday Styles,... →
Books of Style column on “Heels on Wheels,” by Katie Dailey (illustrated by Clare Owen), a guide to the history of women and bicycling that lays out new trends that make the pastime both safer and more alluring. Includes mention of a New York woman-owned business called “Vespertine,” which produces a line of attractive safety accessories for night cyclistes.
ABSOLUTELY FABULIST//HALCYON YEARS (NYTBR, Oct.... →
My New York Times Book Review take on Mark Helprin’s rambling, nostalgic 700-page novel, “In Sunlight and in Shadow,” a love story/war story/class story/gangster story/business story, etc.
Legends, Then and Now (NYT Styles, Sept. 30, 2012) →
Books of Style column on the October book “INCOMPARABLE: Women of Style,” a gatherum of arresting photos by Rose Hartman of iconic women on the New York scene-from the 1970s to now.
Women Without Clothes and Men in Pumps (NYT Style,... →
Essayistic Books of Style column about three slim, glossy Playboy pinup collections (Chronicle)—“Blondes,” “Brunettes” and “Redheads” —nostalgic gatherums of photos of American women from the Cadillac era. Contrasted with a Hollywood coffee-table book by Jean-Louis Ginibre called LADIES OR GENTLEMEN? (Filipacchi) which focused on male cross-dressing...
Interview with Liesl Schillinger in HOUSE SEVEN,... →
On the eve of the first QUALITY LIT SET—a new Manhattan literary discussion series with contemporary authors (and cocktails), moderated by Liesl Schillinger—the moderator speaks to “House Seven” magazine about her seven favorite books. Sept. 18th author guests: Téa Obreht (“The Tiger’s Wife”) and Dana Spiotta (“Stone Arabia”).
QUALITY LIT SET #1, SoHo House NYC, Sept. 18, 2012 →
Announcement of the first QUALITY LIT SET at SoHo House New York—a literary salon hosted by the critic Liesl Schillinger. Guests at QLS #1: Dana Spiotta (“Stone Arabia”) and Téa Obreht (“The Tiger’s Wife”)
Throwing Stones at Glass Ceilings (NYT Styles,... →
A review of Lynn Povich’s “The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace.” The book is a history of the class-action suit filed in 1970 by female employees of Newsweek who wanted the same opportunity to be promoted into the editor-and-writer track that their similarly qualified male contemporaries enjoyed. Povich shows that the struggle...
Fashion's Cost: Hidden and Not So (NYT Styles,... →
Round-up for NYT Thursday Styles of 3 books that touch on the relatively recent craze for cheap, disposable clothing-and reveal the hidden costs of these bargains: OVERDRESSED, by Elizabeth L. Cline; YOU ARE WHAT YOU WEAR: by Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner; and HOW TO LOOK EXPENSIVE, by Andrea Pomerantz Lustig.
BUCCANEERS AND BULLION (review of Andrew Motion's... →
Where the Wild Things Are (Vogue.com review of... →
My Vogue.com review of the dark, sparkling dynamic production of INTO THE WOODS, now playing in Central Park, at the Public Theater’s Delacorte Theater.
MOONSTRUCK: Lydia Netzer's SHINE SHINE SHINE... →
Review of Lydia Netzer’s exceptional début novel, SHINE SHINE SHINE, in NYTBR.
CAPITAL: A Novel, by John Lanchester "THIS IS... →
A simply splendid social novel about life and values during the recent (and ongoing) global financial collapse, set in London. By John Lanchester
AS YOU LIKE IT: The Opening Night of Shakespeare... →
Review of the magnificent production of AS YOU LIKE IT that kicks off the Delacorte Theater’s 50th season of Shakespeare in the Park
A High-Heeled Stroll Through History (NYT Styles,... →
Books of Style column on “Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us,” by Rachelle Goldstein.
Traitor, Martyr, Liberator: ‘The Dream of the... →
An atypical new novel by the great Mario Vargas Llosa rehabilitates Roger Casement: an Irishman who exposed shocking abuses in the rubber trade in Congo and Amazonia (as Consul for Great Britain), was knighted for it, but soon after was shamed and executed, for asking the Kaiser to arm Irish patriots against England in WWI.
BECAUSE IT IS BITTER: THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE... →
Newsweek article about the current rage for bitters and vermouth cocktails; and the potent history of these pungent mixers (I’m dying to visit Nelsen’s Bitters Club in Door County, but stick here to NYC)
"Harvey" on Broadway: RABBIT ON WRY: Vogue.com,... →
Review of the Roundabout revival of Mary Chase’s quirky 1945 Pulitzer-Prize winning play “Harvey,” at Studio 54 on Broadway. “Harvey” is a gentle screwball comedy about a small-town bachelor named Elwood P. Dowd, who drives his relatives nuts by acquiring a 6-foot-3 imaginary rabbit for a best friend (the eponymous “Harvey”)…and squiring his...
A Timeless Love Story (BookPage, June 2012, by... →
This BookPage review is not BY me, but is about my English translation of the novel EVERY DAY, EVERY HOUR, by Natasa Dragnic, which came out May 24, 2012 (Viking). Sheri Bodoh writes that this tale of thwarted lifelong love between Dora and Luka, who meet as children in Croatia, and are separated when Dora moves to Paris will leave you “Arrested. Intoxicated. Natasa Dragnic’s debut,...
In Translation (BEATRICE-on "Every Day, Every... →
Essay for Ron Hogan’s BEATRICE “In Translation” feature, about the process of translating “Every Day, Every Hour,” by Natasa Dragnic, and about translation, generally.
The World According to Irving (Daily Beast... →
Essay on reading John Irving in context; and review of his new novel “In One Person”
SEOUL WOMAN: Kyung-sook Shin's Man Asian Booker... →
Article about the South Korean writer Kyung-sook Shin, who in March became the first woman and the first Korean to win the Man Asian Literary Prize, for her novel “Please Look After Mom.” While in NYC for the paperback release in April, Ms. Shin met with Liesl Schillinger for Newsweek Daily Beast to discuss the Asian Booker prize, her career, her upbringing, her literary influences,...