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Michelle Huneven 

Arts, WLS Wet Metal: An Excerpt From <i>Blame</i>

Wet Metal: An Excerpt From Blame

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Arts, Books Susanna Moore: Women Behind Bars

Susanna Moore: Women Behind Bars

As she established in her erotic thriller, In the Cut, Susanna Moore is not afraid of dark places. Her style is a kind of haute sensationalism; taut, perfectly pitched sentences coupled with an uncanny eye for the goriest detail, the most telling, most unbearable fact. The big girls of Moore’s...…
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Arts, Books A Fan's Notes

A Fan's Notes

Recommending novels is a fool’s errand and giving them as gifts is greater folly yet. To this day, my sister assails me for suggesting Norman Rush’s Mating in 1996, and I’ve altogether stopped proposing any of Penelope Fitzgerald’s novels, Henry James’ The Spoils of Poynton or Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s...…
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Arts, Books A Full Life

A Full Life

Claire Messud’s three works of fiction (two novels and one book of two novellas) have attracted the praise of critics and the attention of countless awards committees. She has twice been nominated for a PEN Faulkner Award, once for a National Book Award, and was just this week long-listed for...…
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News, Lists

Lists

MICHELLE HUNEVEN (author of the novels Jamesland and Round Rock) I read somewhere that Haruki Murakami swims several hours a day to train for his writing — and, indeed, his remarkable last novel, Kafka on the Shore(Vintage), is like an exhilarating dive into the wild and woolly collective unconscious. At...…
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Arts, Books Fatherless Manhattan

Fatherless Manhattan

The narrator of Yannick Murphy’s second novel, Here They Come, is a nameless, frightfully observant 13-year-old girl who lives with her hard-drinking mother, two sisters and suicidal brother in a tenement apartment in Manhattan in the 1970s. Their filmmaker father has left them to live with a woman referred to...…
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Columns, A Considerable Town

Sweet Home Altadena

In 2001, after a 35-year absence and with much trepidation, I moved back to the town where I was born and raised, Altadena, California. Specifically, I moved back to west Altadena, not the fancier, more bourgieside of town east of Lake Avenue. This matters to many who know the area:...…
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Columns, A Considerable Town

The Institution of Marriage

On a hot, smoggy day earlier this month, Jim and I drove to the County Clerk’s Office in East Los Angeles for a wedding license. We found a cluster of squat concrete structures, hard-used and studiously devoid of charm. In the small courtyard, women with baby strollers and small children...…
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Columns, A Considerable Town

An Eden of Their Own

What do you do in the middle of a heat wave? Go on a garden tour, of course. This past scorching Saturday, four of us set out to see My Own Slice of the State, which featured six idiosyncratic “outsider” gardens presented by the arts consortium NewTown — a cutting-edge,...…
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Arts, Books

Female Trouble

Photo by Kevin ScanlonLisa See, whose red hair and pale skin obscure her Chinese ancestry, arrives at the F. Suie One Company in Pasadena bearing dim sum — bao buns, shumai, stickers. A mysterious and rarely open Asian antiquities shop, F. Suie One has been in See’s family for a...…
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Arts, Books

Genre Bender

Photo by Richard PhibbsMichael Cunningham’s fourth — and first post-Pulitzer — novel is the ambitious and entertaining Specimen Days. The title, it helps to know, has been borrowed from Walt Whitman’s autobiography. So from the start we are clued in that, just as Virginia Woolf’s person and writing informed Cunningham’s...…
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Arts, Books

Divine Invention

Photo by George DuncanTwenty-five years ago, Marilynne Robinson published Housekeeping, a strange and beautiful novel about orphan sisters living with their eccentric, possibly schizophrenic aunt on the shores of Lake Coeur d'Helene in Idaho. Housekeeping was a literary phenomenon that has been re-read, compulsively, by countless creative-writing students in the...…
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Arts, Books

Divine Invention

Photo by George Duncan Twenty-five years ago, Marilynne Robinson published Housekeeping, a strange and beautiful novel about orphan sisters living with their eccentric, possibly schizophrenic aunt on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Helene in Idaho. Housekeeping was a literary phenomenon that has been re-read, compulsively, by countless creative-writing students in...…
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Arts, Books

The Intuitionist

On book tour in November for her new collection of short stories, Honored Guest, Joy Williams was bumped out of an airport security line and searched. Apparently, a chemical residue was found on the outside of her bag and on a notebook. It was probably Off!, she says, as she...…
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Arts, Books

Desperate Hollywood Wives

Cheat and Charmer, by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Frank, is a fat, historical Hollywood novel that reads like a tell-all roman à clef of Southern California during the 1950s witch-hunts. The book’s unlikely heroine is Dinah Lasker, a long-legged, stuttering Hollywood wife — and a snitch. Rich, happily married to...…
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News, Features

The Birthday Party

Photo by Mark Hunter As my 50th birthday loomed, a friend in New York gave me this advice: “You’d better do something to celebrate it, or you’ll end up always remembering that you turned 50 without doing anything special.” This, she went on to say, had happened to her. “My...…
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Arts, Books

Sitting on the Meat

“I cleaned,” says Ellen Slezak, opening the door to her West Hollywood apartment. Slezak, 46, has a scrubbed, rosy-cheeked look that her age and her sly sense of humor belie. Her apartment, a roomy, older Craftsman-style flat, is quite tidy and appealing: built-ins, wood floors, yards and yards of books...…
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LA Life,

Summer Sluts, Bastard Zukes and Wannabe Early Girls

While cleaning up my raised garden beds for fall planting, I heard a feline bleating — you couldn’t call it a proper meow. I followed the noise past the row garden into the tall grass beside the garage, where my black cat Khan lazed in a cool low spot. I...…
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LA Life, Style

The Gospel of Compost

Photos by Jack Gould I’m engaged in a radical weed-control program: I am covering my entire huge back yard in fresh, hot organic compost. I’m using it as mulch with the idea that a thick layer will smother and kill the existing weeds and crabgrass, which virtually covered the property...…
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Arts, Books

Oh, Henry!

Photo by Bruce Weber In the months after his fourth novel, The Blackwater Lightship, was delivered for publication — it would go on to be nominated for the Booker Prize in London — Irish author Colm Toibín had the idea to write a book about five years in the life...…
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