The Bloodiest, Most Stomach-Turning Book You’ve Ever Read

“All of European literature springs from a fight,” says a Classics professor in Philip Roth’s The Human Stain. He’s talking about Homer’s The Iliad, and what a nasty little story it is. A few lines from Book 4, during the first major battle scene between the Trojans and the Achians, offers a sanguine taste: Then fate fell upon … Continue reading

Book 1.5 If on a winter’s night… Who’s the author?

On page 117 there is a passage in If on a winter’s night a traveler about authorship. The premise of the passage is a great bit of imagination: Suppose there was this wheezing, shroom-popping old man, and suppose he was the author of all of the world’s stories? Or, as Calvino describes him, the “primordial … Continue reading