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Books

Super Sad True Love Story (Gary Shteyngart, 2010)

Gary Shteyngart’s third novel, Super Sad True Love Story, lives up to at least one part of its hyperbolic title. It is a love story of sorts about a woefully mismatched couple: a middle-aged Russian-American neurotic, Lenny Abramov, and Eunice Park, a beautiful Korean-American 20-something-year-old. Luckily for readers, Super Sad True Love Story is bracingly funny even … Continue reading

Books

Bark (Lorrie Moore, 2014)

Lorrie Moore’s fifth short story collection, Bark (2014), explores relationships in various stages of disintegration. From the title story, “Debarking”, to “Paper Losses” and “Wings”, Moore chronicles the emotional states of couples falling apart: the desperation of a woman who participates in a cruel scheme to please her companion, the alienation of a husband and … Continue reading

Books

Beautiful Ruins (Jess Walter, 2012)

Inspired by the golden age of Hollywood’s major studios, Beautiful Ruins is a picaresque novel about the unexpected turns in life. (The title pays tribute to the actor Richard Burton, whose fictional doppelganger plays a crucial supporting role here.) The story spans the decades from the Second World War to the present, and effortlessly weaves an intricate tapestry from a … Continue reading

Film

Ida (2013)

Set in 1960s Communist-era Poland, Ida (directed by Pawel Pawlikowsky, co-written by Pawlikowsky and Rebecca Lenkiewicz) is a story about a young orphaned nun, Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska), who is on the verge of taking her vows when she’s told by her mother superior that she has a living relative — an aunt named Wanda– and … Continue reading

Film

The Past (2013)

        Like Asghar Farhadi’s previous film, A Separation (2011), The Past is a portrait of a family falling apart. Instead of Tehran, it takes place in Paris and its suburbs, and one member of the family — Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), Marie’s soon-to-be-former husband and father figure to Marie’s daughters, the teenage Lucie … Continue reading

Film

Short Term 12 (2013)

            Short Term 12 (directed and written by Destin Daniel Cretton) is an exquisitely nuanced, emotionally gripping drama about the relationships between the children who live in a short-term care facility and the young adults who care for them. The staff worker in charge of supervising the kids on a day-to-day … Continue reading