The Economist’s flabby finales

A break from Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley today. Instead, a silly post about a serious magazine. Though it calls itself a newspaper,The Economist is the lodestar of news magazines, loved and hated by everyone (see this great piece on the roiling passions The Economist raises among other publishers here). Its mission statement is to “take … Continue reading

Upbraiding Updike for Wordy “Witches”

“And oh yes,” Jane Smart said in her hasty yet purposeful way, each s seemed the black tip of a just-extinguished match held in playful hurt, as children do, against the skin. “Sukie said a man has bought the Lenox mansion.” John Updike loves the English language. He loves the way words feel when they … Continue reading

Book 1.3 If on a winter’s night a traveler

Italo Calvino’s writing gets me thinking about the importance of words, how they can, when treated conscientiously, carry great weight both on their own and in the company of their neighbors. Calvino’s writing is bright and he avoids a lot of highfalutin Latinates. Perhaps this is thanks to William Weaver’s translation, perhaps because Italian has a … Continue reading