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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.
Vera, the bright, edgy heroine, works for a sleazy supermarket tabloid writing about UFO sightings, miracle cures, and the ever-popular Bigfoot. But then one of the stories Vera invented turns out to be true in ways she could never have dreamed...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
The less-than-innocents abroad in these daring short novels are Americans in Europe, involved in what turn out to be pleasure tours of hell: shocking, bewildering trips that change forever their ideas about history, reality, politics, sex - their entire lives. In the title novella, Landau, a third-rate American playwright, attends a literary conference in Prague, where an organized group excursion to a former concentration camp degenerates into a battle of wills and an exercise in egomania and public humiliation. Nina, the heroine of the second novella, "Three Pigs in Five Days", is sent to Paris to write an article for her lover's travel journal - a dizzying, erotic pilgrimage that forces her to see how sex has distorted her view of the world.
The setting is New York's Little Italy in the 1950s -- a community closely knit by gossip and tradition. This is the story of an extraordinary family, the Santangelos. There is Joseph, the butcher, who cheats in his shop and at pinochle, only to find the deck is stacked against him; his mother, Mrs. Santangelo, who sees the evil eye everywhere and who calls on her saints; and Catherine, his wife, whose determination to raise a modern daughter leads her to confront ancient questions. Finally, there is Theresa, Joseph and Catherine's daughter, whose astonishing discovery of purpose moves the book toward its unpredictable conclusion.
Reeling from the shock of a failed romance, Martha, a fact checker at a chic fashion magazine, falls in with a group of New Age feminist goddess worshipers. She follows the group and their accident-prone leader, Isis Moonwagon, from the upscale beaches of Fire Island to the inhospitable Arizona desert, where a Native-American healer bullies them through the punitive rituals of the sweat lodge and the vision quest. But as petty tensions and major crises escalate out of control, the women's longing to return to the "caring nurturant" ways of primitive "Hunters and Gatherers" shatters under the pressures of a more predatory reality.
"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.
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.
A selection of 11 short stories, including Talking dog, Cauliflower heads, Rubber life, Amazing, Ghirlandaio, Amateur voodoo, Potato world, Dog stories, Imaginary problems, The shining path, and Hansel and Gretel.
What are these barbaric rituals that pass for social and family life? Who are these fearsome creatures who linger in decaying mansions and at glittery malls, trendy weddings and dinner parties?
Long before there were creative-writing workshops and degrees, how did aspiring writers learn to write? By reading the work of their predecessors and contemporaries, says Francine Prose. In Reading Like a Writer, Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters. She reads the work of the very best writers—Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhov—and discovers why their work has endured. She takes pleasure in the long and magnificent sentences of Philip Roth and the breathtaking paragraphs of Isaac Babel; she is deeply moved by the brilliant characterization in George Eliot's Middlemarch. She looks to John Le Carré for a lesson in how to advance plot through dialogue, to Flannery O'Connor for the cunning use of the telling detail, and to James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield for clever examples of how to employ gesture to create character. She cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which literature is crafted. Written with passion, humor, and wisdom, Reading Like a Writer will inspire readers to return to literature with a fresh eye and an eager heart.
A blending of art and cultural criticism, travel writing, and personal narrative, Sicilian Odyssey is Francine Prose's imaginative consideration of the diverse cultural legacies found juxtaposed and entangled on the Mediterranean island of Sicily. Prose examines architectural sites and objects that encapsulate period in the island's rich life and history and looks at the ways in which myth and actuality converge. Exploring the intact and beautiful Greek amphitheaters at Siracusa and Taormina, the cathedral at Monreale, the Roman mosaics at Piazza Armerina, and some of the masterpieces of the Baroque scattered throughout the island, Prose focuses her keen insight to imagine them in their own time, to examine the evolution and decline of the cultures that produced them, and to deconstruct powerful responses each evokes in her. Prose writes of the intensity of Sicily, the "commitment to the extreme," where the history is more colorful, the sun hotter, the cooking earthier, the violence more horrific, the carnival more raucous, the politics more Byzantine than other places on Earth, and how much the island can teach us about the triumph of beauty over violence and life over death. Illuminated by the author's own photographs, Sicilian Odyssey brings exotic and enigmatic Sicily to life through the prism of its past.
Twenty-eight Jewish tales with morals, including "Daniel in the Lion's Den," "The King's Garden," and "The Goat that Made the Stars Sing."
What really happened at the back of the bus? Did they, or didn't they? Did she, or didn't she? Something happened to fourteen-year-old Maisie Willard-something involving her three friends, all boys. But their stories don't match, and the rumors spin out of control. Then other people get involved . . . the school, the parents, the lawyers. The incident at the back of the bus becomes the center of Maisie's life and the talk of the school, and, horribly, it becomes news. With just a few words and a touch, the kids and their community are changed forever. From nationally acclaimed author Francine Prose comes an unforgettable story about the difficulties of telling the truth, the consequences of lying, and the most dangerous twist of all-the possibility that you yourself will come to believe something that you know isn't true.
Jack is spending the summer on a private island far from modern conveniences. No Wi-Fi, no cell service, no one else on the island but a housekeeper and the two very peculiar children in his care. The first time Jack sees the huge black mansion atop a windswept hill, he senses something cold, something more sinister than even the dark house itself. Soon, he feels terribly isolated and alone. Yet he is not alone. The house has visitors--peering in the windows, staring from across the shore. But why doesn't anyone else see them . . . and what do they want? As secrets are revealed and darker truths surface, Jack desperately struggles to maintain a grip on reality. He knows what he sees, and he isn't crazy. . . . Or is he? From nationally acclaimed author Francine Prose comes a mind-bending story that will leave you realizing how subtle the lines that separate reality, imagination, and insanity really are.
These bright tales display Prose's special gift for revealing the mysteries at the heart of contemporary life, but beneath their surface they deal compassionately with that most modern discovery: nothing is as people have foreseen -- not even their own desires.
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