My Century, by Günter Grass
A pastiche of 100 chapters, rooted in the political surges of Germany’s violent and fascinating 20th century.
Denis Johnson, Poet of the Fallen World
“I’m kinda like Ozzy Osbourne,” says Denis Johnson in a distracted moment, explaining that he might not remember to call me back. “My wife was just telling me that.”
The Invention of Love
The last time one of Tom Stoppard’s plays had its American premiere in San Francisco, I wrote that it “wouldn’t be above Stoppard to spin a whole script around a minor and meaningless point of grammar.”
Idomeneo in Berlin
Remember the scandal over “Idomeneo” in Berlin? Remember how Islamists went mad when the Deutsche Oper decided to stage a controversial production of Mozart’s opera, unleashing a storm of violence? (Remember how none of that happened?)
I Have Landed
The title of Stephen Jay Gould’s twenty-second book on natural science borrows a phrase his grandfather scribbled in an English primer after he arrived at Ellis Island
For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again
I think Derek Walcott holds the title for Greatest North American Playwright Almost Never Produced in San Francisco, but Michel Tremblay runs a close second.