From the acclaimed author of the National Book Award finalist "Blue Angel" comes a haunting novel about what happens when protection at a school goes too far and what it means to have freedom extinguished in the name of safety. In the aftermath of a nearby school shooting, a grief and crisis counselor takes over Central High School and enacts increasingly harsh measures to control students, while those who do not comply disappear.
In June 1942, Anne Frank received a red-and-white- checked diary for her thirteenth birthday, just weeks before she and her family went into hiding in an Amsterdam attic to escape the Nazis. For two years, with ever-increasing maturity, Anne crafted a memoir that has become one of the most compelling documents of modern history. She described life in vivid, unforgettable detail, explored apparently irreconcilable views of human nature--people are good at heart but capable of unimaginable evil--and grappled with the unfolding events of World War II, until the hidden attic was raided in August 1944. But Anne Frank's diary, argues Francine Prose, is as much a work of art as a historical record. Through close reading, she marvels at the teenage Frank's skillfully natural narrative voice, at her finely tuned dialogue and ability to turn living people into characters. And Prose addresses what few of the diary's millions of readers may know: this book is a deliberate work of art. During her last months in hiding, Anne Frank furiously revised and edited her work, crafting a piece of literature that she had hoped would be read by the public after the war. Read it has been. Few books have been as influential for as long, and Prose thoroughly investigates the diary's unique afterlife: the obstacles and criticism Otto Frank faced in publishing his daughter's words; the controversy surrounding the diary's Broadway and film adaptations; and the claims of conspiracy theorists who have cried fraud, along with the scientific analysis that proved them wrong. Finally, Prose, a teacher herself, considers the rewards and challenges of sharing one of the world's most read, and most banned, books with students. How has the life and death of one girl become emblematic of the lives and deaths of so many, and why do her words continue to inspire? Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife tells the extraordinary story of the book that became a force in the world. Along the way, Francine Prose definitively establishes that Anne Frank was not an accidental author or a casual teenaged chronicler, but a writer of prodigious talent and ambition. How has the life and death of one girl become emblematic of the lives and deaths of so many, and why do her words continue to inspire? Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife tells the extraordinary story of the book that became a force in the world. Along the way, Francine Prose definitively establishes that Anne Frank was not an accidental author or a casual teenage chronicler, but a writer of prodigious talent and ambition.
What should medicine do when it can't save your life?The modern healthcare system has become proficient at staving off death with aggressive interventions. And yet, eventually everyone dies--and although most Americans say they would prefer to die peacefully at home, more than half of all deaths take place in hospitals or health care facilities.At the End of Life--the latest collaborative book project between the Creative Nonfiction Foundation and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation--tackles this conundrum head on. Featuring twenty-two compelling personal-medical narratives, the collection explores death, dying and palliative care, and highlights current features, flaws and advances in the healthcare system.Here, a poet and former hospice worker reflects on death's mysteries; a son wanders the halls of his mother's nursing home, lost in the small absurdities of the place; a grief counselor struggles with losing his own grandfather; a medical intern traces the origins and meaning of time; a mother anguishes over her decision to turn off her daughter's life support and allow her organs to be harvested; and a nurse remembers many of her former patients.These original, compelling personal narratives reveal the inner workings of hospitals, homes and hospices where patients, their doctors and their loved ones all battle to hang on--and to let go.
A novel about learning to live in a world stranger than any tabloid headline<P> Though she's written dispatches from across the globe--covering the Loch Ness monster, live dinosaurs, and the ever-enigmatic yeti--Vera Perl never leaves the offices of This Week, a supermarket tabloid covering the universe's stranger side. Her reporting is done entirely inside her own head, and now she's contemplating a Bigfoot exposé that will astonish even the most jaded conspiracy theorist. No one is better than Vera at imagining these weird, wild stories, because more than anything, she wants them to be true.<P> One day she dreams up a scoop about two Brooklyn children whose lemonade stand has amazing curative properties, and is shocked to learn that the children she invented actually exist. The resulting lawsuit sends this master of hoaxes into a very real tailspin, and a search for something even more elusive than Bigfoot: solace.
It has been years since Swenson, a professor in a New England creative writing program, has published a novel. It's been even longer since any of his students have shown promise. Enter Angela Argo, a pierced, tattooed student with a rare talent for writing. Angela is just the thing Swenson needs. And, better yet, she wants his help. But, as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. . . . Deliciously risquÉ, Blue Angel is a withering take on today's academic mores and a scathing tale that vividly shows what can happen when academic politics collides with political correctness.
My father was killed on 9/11. When eighth grader Bart Rangely is granted a "mercy" scholarship to an elite private school after his father is killed in the North Tower, doors should have opened. Instead, he is terrorized and bullied by his own mentor. So begins the worst year of his life.
My father was killed on 9/11.When eighth grader Bart Rangely is granted a "mercy" scholarship to an elite private school after his father is killed in the North Tower, doors should have opened. Instead, he is terrorized and bullied by his own mentor. So begins the worst year of his life.
Francine Prose's life of Caravaggio evokes the genius of this great artist through a brilliant reading of his paintings. Caravaggio defied the aesthetic conventions of his time; his use of ordinary people, realistically portrayed--street boys, prostitutes, the poor, the aged--was a profound and revolutionary innovation that left its mark on generations of artists. His insistence on painting from nature, on rendering the emotional truth of experience, whether religious or secular, makes him an artist who speaks across the centuries to our own time.Born in 1571 near Milan, Michelangelo Merisi (da Caravaggio) moved to Rome when he was twenty-one years old. He became a brilliant and successful artist, protected by the influential Cardinal del Monte and other patrons. But he was also a man of the streets who couldn't seem to free himself from its brawls and vendettas. In 1606 he fled Rome, apparently after killing another man in a dispute. He spent his last years in exile, in Naples, Malta, and Sicily, at once celebrated for his art and tormented by his enemies. Through it all, he produced masterpieces of astonishing complexity and power. Eventually he received a pardon from the Pope, only to die, in mysterious circumstances, on the way back to Rome in 1610.Francine Prose presents the brief but tumultuous life of one of the greatest of all painters with passion and acute sensitivity.
Francine Prose's life of Caravaggio evokes the genius of this great artist through a brilliant reading of his paintings. Caravaggio defied the aesthetic conventions of his time; his use of ordinary people, realistically portrayed-street boys, prostitutes, the poor, the aged-was a profound and revolutionary innovation that left its mark on generations of artists. His insistence on painting from nature, on rendering the emotional truth of experience, whether religious or secular, makes him an artist who speaks across the centuries to our own time.<P> Born in 1571 near Milan, Michelangelo Merisi (da Caravaggio) moved to Rome when he was twenty-one years old. He became a brilliant and successful artist, protected by the influential Cardinal del Monte and other patrons. But he was also a man of the streets who couldn't seem to free himself from its brawls and vendettas. In 1606 he fled Rome, apparently after killing another man in a dispute. He spent his last years in exile, in Naples, Malta, and Sicily, at once celebrated for his art and tormented by his enemies. Through it all, he produced masterpieces of astonishing complexity and power. Eventually he received a pardon from the Pope, only to die, in mysterious circumstances, on the way back to Rome in 1610.<P> Francine Prose presents the brief but tumultuous life of one of the greatest of all painters with passion and acute sensitivity.
What is charismatic Holocaust survivor Meyer Maslow to think when a rough-looking young neo-Nazi named Vincent Nolan walks into the Manhattan office of Maslow's human rights foundation and declares that he wants to "save guys like me from becoming guys like me"? As Vincent gradually turns into the sort of person who might actually be able to do this, he also transforms those around him: Meyer Maslow, who fears heroism has become a desk job; the foundation's dedicated fund-raiser, Bonnie Kalen, an appealingly vulnerable divorced single mother; and even Bonnie's teenage son. Francine Prose's A Changed Man is a darkly comic and masterfully inventive novel that poses essential questions about human nature, morality, and the capacity for personal reinvention.
What is charismatic Holocaust survivor Meyer Maslow to think when a rough-looking young neo-Nazi named Vincent Nolan walks into the Manhattan office of Maslow's human rights foundation and declares that he wants to "save guys like me from becoming guys like me"? As Vincent gradually turns into the sort of person who might actually be able to do this, he also transforms those around him: Meyer Maslow, who fears heroism has become a desk job; the foundation's dedicated fund-raiser, Bonnie Kalen, an appealingly vulnerable divorced single mother; and even Bonnie's teenage son.Francine Prose's A Changed Man is a darkly comic and masterfully inventive novel that poses essential questions about human nature, morality, and the capacity for personal reinvention.
"Francine Prose is one of a handful of truly indispensable American writers." --Gary ShteyngartThe Glorious Ones are an unlikely troupe--there's Armanda, the cheerful dwarf and ex-nun; chattering Columbina; Pantalone the miser; and the wicked Brighella; all led by Flaminio Scala, the self-proclaimed most courageous man in Christendom. They travel up and down seventeenth-century Italy, performing in palaces and poor villages alike. For all their wild differences, not one of them is prepared for the arrival of the mysterious Isabella, their new boss.
In "Gluttony", Francine Prose serves up a marvelous banquet of witty and engaging observations on this most delicious of deadly sins. She traces how our notions of gluttony have evolved along with our ideas about salvation and damnation, health and illness, life and death. Offering a lively smorgasbord that ranges from Augustine's "Confessions "and Chaucer's "Pardoner's Tale", to Petronius's "Satyricon" and Dante's "Inferno", she shows that gluttony was in medieval times a deeply spiritual matter, but today we have transformed gluttony from a sin into an illness -- it is the horrors of cholesterol and the perils of red meat that we demonize. Indeed, the modern take on gluttony is that we overeat out of compulsion, self-destructiveness, or to avoid intimacy and social contact. But gluttony, Prose reminds us, is also an affirmation of pleasure and of passion. She ends the book with a discussion of M.F.K. Fisher's idiosyncratic defense of one of the great heroes of gluttony, Diamond Jim Brady, whose stomach was six times normal size. "The broad, shiny face of the glutton," Prose writes, "has been -- and continues to be -- the mirror in which we see ourselves, our hopes and fears, our darkest dreams and deepest desires". Never have we delved more deeply into this mirror than in this insightful and stimulating book.
At the center of Francine Prose's profoundly moving new novel is a young girl facing the consequences of sudden loss after the death of her sister. As her parents drift toward their own risky consolations, thirteen-year-old Nico is left alone to grope toward understanding and clarity, falling into a seductive, dangerous relationship with her sister's enigmatic boyfriend. Over one haunted summer, Nico must face that life-changing moment when children realize their parents can no longer help them. She learns about the power of art, of time and place, the mystery of loss and recovery. But for all the darkness at the novel's heart, the narrative itself is radiant with the lightness of summer and charged by the restless sexual tension of teenage life. "Goldengrove" takes its place among the great novels of adolescence, beside Henry James's "The Awkward Age" and L. P. Hartley's "The Go-Between".
n these two audacious novellas, Americans abroad find that losing themselves in another culture can be dangerous<P> Invited to Prague's first annual Kafka conference to read from his play about the great Czech writer, a playwright named Landau finds himself upstaged by Jiri Krakauer, the dashing Holocaust survivor whose claim to fame is a long-ago death-camp love affair with Kafka's sister. On a visit to the camp, Landau attempts to prove that Krakauer is lying--risking his career to destroy that of another.<P> On the other side of Europe, Nina and Leo go on a macabre tour of their own. A guidebook editor and his besotted assistant, they are enduring a miserable French vacation when Leo suggests a "Paris Death Trip," taking in catacombs, prisons, and all the darkest corners of the City of Light.<P> In these two novellas, Francine Prose skewers Americans abroad.
Seventeen-year-old Natalie Waite longs to escape home for college. Her father is a domineering and egotistical writer who keeps a tight rein on Natalie and her long-suffering mother. When Natalie finally does get away, however, college life doesn't bring the happiness she expected. Little by little, Natalie is no longer certain of anything--even where reality ends and her dark imaginings begin. Chilling and suspenseful, Hangsaman is loosely based on the real-life disappearance of a Bennington College sophomore in 1946.
Richard Hughes's celebrated short novel is a masterpiece of concentrated narrative. Its dreamlike action begins among the decayed plantation houses and overwhelming natural abundance of late nineteenth-century Jamaica, before moving out onto the high seas, as Hughes tells the story of a group of children thrown upon the mercy of a crew of down-at-the-heel pirates. A tale of seduction and betrayal, of accommodation and manipulation, of weird humor and unforeseen violence, this classic of twentieth-century literature is above all an extraordinary reckoning with the secret reasons and otherworldly realities of childhood.
It happened by the grace of God that Joseph Santangelo won his wife in a card game.<P> On a September night so hot that the good Catholics of New York wonder if their city has slipped into hell, the butcher Joseph Santangelo invites his friends to play pinochle. At the end of a long, sweaty, boozy evening, his friend Lino Falconetti, addled by wine and heat, bets the hand of his daughter, Catherine--and Santangelo wins.<P> Santangelo's modern new wife clashes immediately with his superstitious, half-mad mother--and Catherine is horrified when the daughter they raise turns out to have more in common with the old world than the new. As the years slide past, the city changes around them, but Little Italy's household saints hold their world together.
A witty and wry satire of New Age searchers, our spiritual longings, and our earthbound natures<P> Martha is thirty, and her life has stalled. Her last boyfriend turned cruel long before he left her, her fact-checking job is underpaying and unfulfilling, and the aimlessness of her twenties--which she thought was just a phase--has become her defining characteristic. She is wandering along the beach when she spies a group of women performing a strange spiritual ceremony that stirs something deep within her. With names like Isis Moonwagon and Hegwitha, they have given themselves fully to the worship of the Goddess. After Martha earns an honored place in their budding religion, she gets to know its members and finds that the New Age has some of the same problems as the old one.
In seventeenth-century Poland, a rabbi takes on the education of a kingThe Polish monarch has outlawed a portion of the Jewish funeral rite, and none of the community's lawyers, judges, or scholars will come forward to defend the custom before the crown. Only one man dares challenge the sovereign: the spindly old Rabbi Eliezer of Rimanov, whose eccentric habits conceal the mind of a dreamer and the curiosity of a child.The rabbi is reduced to laughter at the sight of the king, for the country's ruler is but a boy--and Rabbi Eliezer knows how to speak to youngsters. They make a bet: If the rabbi can convince him that there is more to the universe than meets the eye, the funeral rite will be restored. To make his case, Eliezer launches into the story of Judah ben Simon, a tale of such majesty and wonder that it promises to make a dreamer out of all who hear it, changing them forevermore.
"In a few short pages," writes Francine Prose in her Introduction, "May Sinclair succeeds in rendering the oppressive weight and strength of the chains of family love." Young Harriett Frean is taught that "behaving beautifully" is paramount, and she becomes a self-sacrificing woman whose choices prove devastating to herself and to those who love her most. An early pioneer ofstream-of-consciousness writing, Sinclair employs the technique brilliantly in this finely crafted psychological novel. Evoking the style and depth of her contemporaries Virginia Woolf and D. H. Lawrence, Sinclair's haunting narrative also reflects her keen interest in the theories of Jung and Freud. The text of this Modern Library 20th Century Rediscovery was set from the first American edition of 1922.From the Trade Paperback edition.
All loved, and were loved by, their artists, and inspired them with an intensity of emotion akin to Eros.In a brilliant, wry, and provocative book, National Book Award finalist Francine Prose explores the complex relationship between the artist and his muse. In so doing, she illuminates with great sensitivity and intelligence the elusive emotional wellsprings of the creative process.
There is no ideal muse, but rather as many variations on the theme as there are individual women who have had the luck, or misfortune, to find their destiny conjoined with that of a particular artist. What are we to make of the relationship between the child Alice Liddell, who inspired Alice in Wonderland, and the Oxford don who became Lewis Carroll? Or the so-called serial muse, Lou Andreas-Salome, who captivated Nietzsche, Rilke, and Freud -- as impressive a list as any muse can boast? Salvador Dali was the only artist to sign his art with his muse's name, and Gala Dali certainly knew how to market her artist and his work while simultaneously burnishing her own image and celebrity. Lou, Gala, and Yoko Ono all defy the feminist stereotype of the muse as a passive beauty put on a pedestal and oppressed by a male artist. However, it's rare to find an artist and muse who are genuine partners, true collaborators, such as ballerina Suzanne Farrell and choreographer George Balanchine. What do the nine muses chosen by Francine Prose have in common? They were all beautiful, or sexy, or gifted with some more unconventional appeal. All loved, and were loved by, their artists, and inspired them with an intensity of emotion akin to Eros. For these artists, the love of -- or for -- their muses provided an essential element required for the melding of talent and technique necessary to create art.
A richly imagined and stunningly inventive literary masterpiece of love, art, and betrayal, exploring the genesis of evil, the unforeseen consequences of love, and the ultimate unreliability of storytelling itselfParis in the 1920s. It is a city of intoxicating ambition, passion, art, and discontent, where louche jazz venues like the Chameleon Club draw expats, artists, libertines, and parvenus looking to indulge their true selves. It is at the Chameleon where the striking Lou Villars, an extraordinary athlete and scandalous cross-dressing lesbian, finds refuge among the club's loyal denizens, including the rising photographer Gabor Tsenyi, the socialite and art patron Baroness Lily de Rossignol, and the caustic American writer Lionel Maine.As the years pass, their fortunes--and the world itself--evolve. Lou falls in love and finds success as a race car driver. Gabor builds his reputation with vivid and imaginative photographs, including a haunting portrait of Lou and her lover, which will resonate through all their lives. As the exuberant twenties give way to darker times, Lou experiences another metamorphosis that will warp her earnest desire for love and approval into something far more sinister: collaboration with the Nazis.Told in a kaleidoscope of voices, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 evokes this incandescent city with brio, humor, and intimacy. A brilliant work of fiction and a mesmerizing read, it is Francine Prose's finest novel yet.
Lula, a twenty-six-year-old Albanian woman living surreptitiously in New York City on an expiring tourist visa, hopes to make a better life for herself in America. When she lands a job as caretaker to Zeke, a rebellious high school senior in suburban New Jersey, it seems that the security, comfort, and happiness of the American dream may finally be within reach. Her new boss, Mister Stanley, an idealistic college professor turned Wall Street executive, assumes that Lula is a destitute refugee of the Balkan wars. He enlists his childhood friend Don Settebello, a hotshot lawyer who prides himself on defending political underdogs, to straighten out Lula's legal situation. In true American fashion, everyone gets what he wants and feels good about it. But things take a more sinister turn when Lula's Albanian "brothers" show up in a brand-new black Lexus SUV. Hoodie, Leather Jacket, and the Cute One remind her that all Albanians are family, but what they ask of her is no small favor. Lula's new American life suddenly becomes more complicated as she struggles to find her footing as a stranger in a strange new land. Is it possible that her new American life is not so different from her old Albanian one? Set in the aftermath of 9/11, My New American Life offers a vivid, darkly humorous, bitingly real portrait of a particular moment in history, when a nation's dreams and ideals gave way to a culture of cynicism, lies, and fear. Beneath its high comic surface, the novel is a more serious consideration of immigration, of what it was like to live through the Bush-Cheney years, and of what it means to be an American.