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WYPR Arts

I love reading books in translation. There's just something about that second pass — that second look at the language — which removes, by my rough estimate, something like 10% of any writer's preciousness (I've never known one who couldn't spare that much, at least) and gives every line such a chewy, lived-in feel. The motion of the words themselves, from one tongue to another — from one brain to another, one mouth to another — alters them fundamentally.

In '2140,' New York May Be Underwater, But It's Still Home

Mar 19, 2017

Early in New York 2140, two boys jump into their inflatable boat to begin the day's business, scavenging through the canals of a half-drowned New York. Since the weight of the engine threatens to sink the stern, the older boy sits up front to balance it out.

Ashamed, Confused And In The Closet

Mar 18, 2017

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

Today the Sugars hear from a man who is married to a woman and thinks he's gay. He says his marriage to his wife is fulfilling in every way except for their sex life. Now he doesn't know what to do. What should his next step be?

For more than 40 years, Paul Shaffer has been providing the soundtrack for late night TV. He was on the first generation of Saturday Night Live and appeared for 30 years with David Letterman. He was the band leader who could play any song and would laugh at any joke. He's just released an album called Paul Shaffer & The World's Most Dangerous Band.

The St. Patrick's parade is over and the Irish (and honorary Irish) have gone home to sleep off their annual bout of intemperance, but the multi-generational marchers of the Italian-American St. Joseph Society in New Orleans are only just dusting off their tuxedos and straightening their bow ties. Once the shamrocks and shenanigans have vanished from the narrow streets of the French Quarter, and the keg of green beer is empty, another parade — in honor of an entirely different saint — is beginning to gear up.

If you've been out of loop on the American contemporary art scene, the Whitney Biennial is here to catch you up. This year's show opened Friday, and features 63 different artists and many new works that have never been shown before. Some artists are responding to the most pressing issues of our time, while others are tackling mammoth projects on a tight deadline. Photographer An-My Lê and artist Raúl de Nieves represent the range of this year's contributors.

Elif Batuman is on record as disliking "crisp" fiction, fiction that streamlines, that asks to be compared to apples, or whips. "Write long novels, pointless novels," she urges in an essay for n+1. And she has. The Idiot is a long wander, a vague rummage, "as simultaneously absorbing and off-putting as someone else's incredibly long dream," as her narrator, Selin, says of Bleak House.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

20 years ago, a low-budget film with a great soundtrack (Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Blur) became a huge hit. And then a lot of people ended up with a poster on their bedroom wall featuring an epically profane rant that began, "Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family ..."

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