Probably from “Sculpting in Time: The Great Russian Filmmaker Discusses His Art”

“What is art?,” asked Tarkovsky. “Like a declaration of love: the consciousness of our dependence on each other. A confession. An unconscious act that none the less reflects the true meaning of life—love and sacrifice.” --I found it here … [Read more...]

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“7 Konigsburg Takes”: Leah Libresco

in honor of the late EL Konigsburg. … [Read more...]

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“Prodigals and Preachers”: me on Marilynne Robinson

at Acculturated: This is the halfway point for my series of posts on great novels about marriage, and with this third installment I think I see some intertwined themes emerging. All three of the books so far—Kristin Lavransdatter, How to Be Good, and now Marilynne Robinson’s generational Iowa epic-in-miniature Gilead—are also stories about being sorry, and trying to be better, and wondering how much any person can ever really change. more; keep in mind that all of these posts necessarily overs … [Read more...]

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“Mirror Sonnet: How to Rise from the Dead”

Intense; nice hit of form-follows-function; reminds me of the Mountain Goats. … [Read more...]

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From “Gilead”

Calvin says somewhere that each of us is an actor on a stage and God is the audience. That metaphor has always interested me, because it makes us artists of our behavior, and the reaction of God to us might be thought of as aesthetic rather than morally judgmental in the ordinary sense. How well do we understand our role? With how much assurance do we perform it? I suppose Calvin's God was a Frenchman, just as mine is a Middle Westerner of New England extraction. Well, we all bring such light to … [Read more...]

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“You’re Not the Horrible Man I Married Anymore!”: me on Nick Hornby’s How to Be Good

In the first installment of this series on great novels about marriage we looked at a thousand-plus-page epic novel about life and death in medieval Norway: early death, mutilation, miserable weddings, war, prowling wolves, even the Black Plague itself. So you might be relieved by the book I’ve chosen this time. Nick Hornby’s 2001 How to Be Good has a bright yellow cover, a modern British setting, and a manageable three-hundred pages. This first impression is misleading. How to Be Good is a bru … [Read more...]

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From Marilynne Robinson, “Gilead”

That mention of Feuerbach and joy reminded me of something I saw early one morning a few years ago, as I was walking up to the church. There was a young couple strolling along half a block ahead of me. The sun had come up brilliantly after a heavy rain, and the trees were glistening and very wet. On some impulse, plain exuberance I suppose, the fellow jumped up and caught hold of a branch, and a storm of luminous water came pouring down on the two of them, and they laughed and took off running, … [Read more...]

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