September 7, 1997
"The Witch of Exmoor," by Margaret Drabble. Harcourt. 288 pages. $23.England, George Orwell once observed, is more a family than a nation -- a wrangling, peevish family with crazy uncles locked in attics, poor cousins scrubbing floors and the worst siblings left in charge of the silver, but possessing nonetheless a family's shared feeling about right and wrong.It shouldn't be much surprise, then, that Margaret Drabble casts as a family drama her latest novel, "The Witch of Exmoor," a fable about what the Victorians called the "Condition of England."
April 18, 1999
What was the expected became the unexpected. Jack Brandt was an original unto himself. In the long and eventful history of Baltimore baseball, there was never a more entertaining individual. It was the personality in all its bizarre aspects.His natural, God-given ability frustrated managers and created professional envy among players. The maximum performance never truly exhibited itself, but he was to spend 11 seasons in the major leagues.All the necessary ingredients were there -- exceptional throwing, fielding, running, hitting and the power quotient.
August 3, 2004
When I called the box office at the Metropolitan Opera to buy a seat for a particular performance of Der Rosenkavalier in 1990, the ticket agent responded, "I must point out to you that Luciano Pavarotti will not be in the cast that day." Back then, when he still had lots of voice and ease of mobility, Pavarotti would occasionally don a costume for this Richard Strauss opera and send audiences into a tizzy singing the brief, soaring aria in the one-scene role of the Italian Singer. I hope I didn't sound too condescending when I replied, "I couldn't care less about Pavarotti.
May 3, 2009
Ruth Reichl is a commanding and daunting figure in American culture. Beginning in the 1970s, she played a key role in revolutionizing food and restaurant journalism, wielded make-or-break influence as a restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times and later The New York Times, and continues to loom large as editor in chief of Gourmet magazine. With her fourth book, Not Becoming My Mother: And Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way, however, Reichl looks backward and inward in an attempt to understand and explain her mother, both to herself and to us. At barely 100 pages, Not Becoming My Mother is a meditation rather than a memoir but is no less affecting for its brevity.
October 7, 1990
In an article in Sunday's People section, the annual sales of Merry-Go-Round Enterprises were incorrectly reported. The correct figure is $650 million.Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass is an hour late for a 10:30 a.m. appointment.An hour late -- and unrepentant."Alan Charles kept me out last night until 4," he offers in explanation. "He met me down at Sabs [Sabatinos, a Little Italy restaurant], and we closed Sabs up at 3 in the morning."He adds some self-analysis: "I should have known better than to make a 10:30 appointment.
November 19, 2007
We celebrate anemic, cautious writers in a time that needs more Mailers. Bless his misogynist, much-missed, heroic bones." - MARIANNE WIGGINS, author, on the prolific, eccentric writer Norman Mailer, who died last weekend at 84