Juan Vidal

Juan Vidal appears in the following:

Madness And A Search For Healing In 'Albina And The Dog-Men'

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Alejandro Jodorowsky's hallucinatory new novel follows two women on the run — one suffering from a monstrous affliction. Though disturbing in places, it has the feel of an ancient fireside tale.


You Can Go Home Again: The Transformative Joy Of Rereading

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Returning to a book you've read before can feel like getting a drink with an old friend. But even though the book's the same, you yourself may have changed — and that's what makes rereading so rich.


A Diamond As Big As The Fitz: 75 Years Later, F. Scott Fitzgerald Shines On

Monday, December 21, 2015

I first came across the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald through his collection Six Tales of the Jazz Age and Other Stories. The slim volume, with its bright purple cover, called to me from the cluttered end cap of a secondhand bookshop. I cracked it open, sat, and read through ...


A Motley Crew On A Wild Pilgrimage In 'Sophia'

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Oftentimes the most provocative stories are the ones that bridge the holy and the profane, that mesh the intellectual and the spiritual to arrive at a form of truth. And in fiction, as in life, truth can come in many forms.

In Sophia, the slim novel by Michael Bible, this ...


Happy (?) Birthday, Gregor Samsa: 'The Metamorphosis' Turns 100

Sunday, October 25, 2015

When I was 17, my mother sent me to live with some relatives in South America for a year. I'd been screwing up royally and my antics were becoming difficult for her to manage as a struggling single mother of three. She'd been threatening for a long time to ship ...


These 3 'Judges' Are On The Hunt For Justice

Thursday, October 08, 2015

The past several years have seen something of a resurgence of European crime fiction in the United States. It's no secret that the genre is massive overseas, in Scandinavia and especially France, where roughly one in five books sold is a crime novel. The success of books like Alex, ...


See The Pope On A Slice Of Toast? It's Perfectly Normal, Really

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The U.S. is in a frenzy over Pope Francis. And with the pontiff visiting Philadelphia on Saturday, vendors there are ready with commemorative memorabilia – including, as we've reported, a toaster that burns the pontiff's image onto bread.

That's all tongue in cheek, of course, but reports of people ...


A Master Class In Journalism From A 1930s-Era Workaholic

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Many writers have done some of their best work under threatening and even hostile circumstances: James Baldwin worked tirelessly during the tensions of the civil rights movement; Roberto Bolaño wrote his masterpiece 2666 under looming sickness and death. Joseph Roth, the Austrian journalist and novelist, sketched a portrait of his ...


The Blazing World Of Clarice Lispector, In 'Complete Stories'

Saturday, August 15, 2015

In 1948, Clarice Lispector wrote a moving letter to her sister Tania, offering some pointed advice: "Have the courage to transform yourself," she wrote, "to do what you desire." It's a fairly simple exhortation, and yet I wonder how many people can't manage it, how many squander their entire lives, ...


Savor The Quiet Sweetness Of 'The Blue Girl'

Sunday, July 19, 2015

In her debut novel Ex Utero, Laurie Foos tells the story of a woman who misplaces her uterus at a shopping mall, "somewhere between the shoe store and the lingerie counter." After her womb goes missing her husband feels utterly lost, and others are quick to deem her careless. While ...


Baldwin And Bridges: Two Artists, Two Debuts, One Fire

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Every so often, an artist comes along who simply resonates. They show up and fill a particular void in our cultural consciousness, whether in prose, song or film. They tap into something that feels especially new, and at times transcendent.

Leon Bridges is one of those artists. The 25-year-old crooner ...


Words Made Flesh: Literature And The Language Of Prayer

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lately, my prayers have become a form of artistic expression: Carefully chosen words, praise reports like songs, and sometimes pissed-off pronouncements entwined with polite requests that I please not screw something up. This season of life has required thoughtful consideration of even my private devotional time — and that makes ...


In 'History,' Money Makes The World Go 'Round

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Money has long been notorious for its way of complicating things. We can never have too much — but most often there's just not enough. In the wrong hands, it breaks bonds and brings down kingdoms. And while it may be the commodity which ties us together as citizens of ...


William Faulkner Makes Us Wonder: What's So Great About Poetry, Anyhow?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Poetry is the secret story, the story behind the story — or, as Wordsworth puts it, what is "felt in the blood and felt along the heart." Poetry is language broken down, chiseled, and refined, made to say what is unsayable through any other means. And while it is ...


Renata Adler, Taking A Buzz Saw To The 'Tall Timber'

Thursday, April 09, 2015

For decades, the name Renata Adler has provoked a host of differing opinions. She's been loved, hated, feared, admired and ostracized by literary institutions for her brazen and uncompromising views on journalism and the role of the journalist. Adler has never been one to succumb to the pressures of the ...


A Filmmaker's Surreal Vision On The Page In 'Where The Bird Sings Best'

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

"On this side I have old age, and on this side I have death." — Alejandro Jodorowsky

First, a hard-boiled fact: No one alive today, anywhere, has been able to demonstrate the sheer possibilities of artistic invention — and in so many disciplines — as powerfully as Alejandro Jodorowsky. An ...


'Mountaineer' Is A Must-Read Of Soviet Sci-Fi

Thursday, March 19, 2015

During the Stalin years, there were tight restrictions on science fiction in the Soviet Union. Writers were pressured and boxed in, urged to stick to themes of adventure, space travel and the glowing prospect of Soviet scientific and technological achievements.

But after Stalin's death and the relaxation of censorship policies, ...


Reading On The Roof? Now That's Punk Rock

Sunday, March 08, 2015

In The Savage Detectives, Roberto Bolaño invents the "visceral realists," a group of poetry-mad troublemakers who read and write incessantly. They also shoplift, sleep around, and drift from place to place — causing mayhem at workshops and picking fights with lesser poets for sport. All of them are guided by ...


Spic-O-Rama: Where 'Spic' Comes From, And Where It's Going

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Editor's note: This post is about the evolution of a word that is highly offensive to some and includes other offensive language.

If, unlike me, you've never had cause to become familiar with the term "spic," you can see it in action in the story of a veteran Boston ...


In Winter, Keeping Warm With Beloved Books

Sunday, January 25, 2015

For many of us, winter is a time for turning inward, for quelling fears, for resolving to stay warm and alive, or just for remembering that there is so much ahead to wonder over. And though at times it can just feel bleak and bloody awful, the season can be ...