Geography is destiny in Jhumpa Lahiri's new novel, The Lowland. Her title refers to a marshy stretch of land between two ponds in a Calcutta neighborhood where two very close brothers grow up. In monsoon season, the marsh floods and the ponds combine; in summer, the floodwater evaporates. You don't need your decoder ring to figure out that the two ponds symbolize the two brothers — at times separate; at other times inseparable. But there's still more meaning lurking in this rich landscape.
In April 2009, Somali pirates boarded an American-flagged container ship and took its captain, Richard Phillips, hostage on a small lifeboat. That led to a five-day drama at sea, much of it covered on television, as a U.S. Navy destroyer tailed the lifeboat and Navy SEAL sharpshooters eventually freed the captain. In 2010 Phillips wrote a memoir called A Captain's Duty and the harrowing experience has now been adapted into a film called Captain Phillips.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 8:46 am
The author is a Syrian citizen in Damascus who is not being further identified for safety reasons.
The boy on the bicycle wasn't old enough to have facial hair. His feet barely reached the ground as he stopped and moved, circling the soldier manning the government checkpoint in east Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus.
"Please, just one bag of bread," the boy, lips quivering, said to the soldier. "Just one."
"I told you, no. No means no, young man," the soldier replied. "No food is allowed inside." He seemed somewhat pained at having to deprive a child of food.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. We're going to spend some time talking now about Egypt, where more than 50 people were killed over the weekend in clashes between the military and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. In a moment, we'll speak to an Egyptian-American who has written poetry inspired by the unrest there.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Coming up, diplomats around the world continue to pay close attention to the events in Syria and Iran, but one scholar explains why we shouldn't forget about Egypt. That's in a few minutes.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. They call it The People's Opera, but after this month, the New York City Opera will exist only in the history books. The renowned company is closing after 70 years. The New York City Opera failed to raise the $7 million it needed to cover its debts and will file for bankruptcy protection.
Upheaval in countries like Egypt and Syria is often discussed in political terms, but how do artists see it? Guest host Celeste Headlee talks about arts and the Arab Spring with Egyptian-American poet Yahia Lababidi and Syrian-American doctor Dr. Zaher Sahloul.
Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 2:16 pm
"Ugh, I have to visit my aunt out in the boondocks this weekend."
How often have you said or heard something similar? For more than half a century, Americans have used the phrase "the boondocks" or "the boonies" to indicate that a place was in the middle of nowhere. However, few people realize that the phrase is a relic of American military occupation in the Philippines, and that it was later brought to mainstream attention because of a now largely forgotten, fatal training accident on Parris Island.
With J.D. Salinger in the news three years after his death (and the new documentary and biography must have that obsessively private author spinning in his grave), I'm reminded of my conversations in the 1970s about Salinger with the editor of The New Yorker, William Shawn.
The airline's president, Yoshiharu Ueki, said the order was unrelated to Boeing's problems with the 787, but the huge order is seen as a major coup for the Toulouse, France-based manufacturer at the expense of its American rival.