J. D. Salinger in Retreat…

By Helen Dudar Writers Bloc June 1979 In this age of hard sell, when even the most reticent author can be coaxed into a half-hour on camera with Dick Cavett, J. D. Salinger obdurately remains publishing’s invisible man. This is, of course, hard on his admirers, who...

Dylan Brings It Home: Memoir Is a Ballad to the Beat Village

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer October 14, 2004 Thaddeus Stevens? Who knew? One of the least-understood of Dylan mysteries has to do with influences: His music seems to come from everywhere, and from nowhere but him. You can listen to endless droning folk...

Glenn Stout Lives Way Up There

By Kevin Koczwara The Classical August 2012 When Glenn Stout says he lives far up there in Vermont he means it. The roads seem to go on forever and the mountains never end. Eventually, I make it to Lake Champlain and realize I’m getting close. I continue driving north...

Adagio, ma non tropp

By Lewis H. Lapham Harper’s August 1995 “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow “is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening...

People Aren’t Tidy

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader November 11, 2019 “When I was twenty-two, I read Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, and it completely changed my understanding of what nonfiction can do.”—Rachel Aviv. Seven years ago, Kaylen Ralph and Joanna Demkiewicz, seniors at...

Thriller of the Century: The Third Man

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer January 17, 2000 Wait a minute, I’m not finished. I was just getting started. I’ve got more awards to bestow for Bests of the Century. I was just warming up last month when I named Pale Fire Best English Language Novel of the...

Ex Drops In

By Paul Hemphill From Too Old to Cry San Francisco It is probable that Frederick Exley was the best-known unknown novelist working in America during the seventies. Ever since the publication in the late sixties of A Fan’s Notes he has symbolized the enigmatic position...

The Bustling Days and Rum-and-Coke Nights of Barney Rosset

By John Marchese 7 Days September 6, 1989 Barney Rosset is being kissed. He leans forward toward her lips, which are delicately painted. His old hands clasp her young hands—right in left, left in right. She is small and slender. So is he. Later, after she smiles...

The Man Behind the Curtain

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader His reputation as the guru of magazine writing preceded him so it came as a surprise that Jay Lovinger not only lived a couple of blocks from me in Riverdale but that he was indistinguishable from the other guys lolling around Johnson...

Smart Tartt

By James Kaplan Vanity Fair September 1992 Donna Tartt, who is going to be very famous very soon—conceivably the moment you read this—also happens to be exceedingly small. Teeny, even. “I’m the exact same size as Lolita,” she says. “Do you remember that poem from the...

Patricia Wells: An American Food Critic in Paris

By Helen Dudar The Wall Street Journal October 4, 1988 Paris So here we are, a couple of American women lunching at the restaurant of Guy Savoy, two stars in the Michelin, four toques in the fervidly celebratory Guide Gault-Millau. Naturally, in keeping with local...

Toni Morrison: Finally Just a Writer

By Helen Dudar The Wall Street Journal September 30, 1987 A few summers ago, Toni Morrison looked out at the Hudson River from the little pier of her house in Rockland County and discovered that she was feeling dizzy. She had, at the urging of her editor at Knopf,...