Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 3:41 pm
Da Chen is the author of My Last Empress.
In fiction, setting is a local goddess you must kowtow to before you lift up your pen and attempt to create an authentic fictional world. It is a lofty stage to be erected — an ornate frame within which a masterful painting will be hung.
In the Gospels, the Virgin Mary is the alabaster embodiment of grace and suffering, the mater dolorosa — but also largely voiceless. We know little about her except for her virginity and her grief.
In the grim and lovely Testament of Mary, Colm Toibin gives voice to the mother of Jesus. Elderly and isolated in Ephesus, menaced by the persecutors of her dead son as well as by his followers, Mary narrates her memories of the Crucifixion in cold, vivid detail.
It's a cold March night in New York, and journalist Susannah Cahalan is watching PBS with her boyfriend, trying to relax after a difficult day at work. He falls asleep, and wakes up moments later to find her having a seizure straight out of The Exorcist. "My arms suddenly whipped straight out in front of me, like a mummy, as my eyes rolled back and my body stiffened," Cahalan writes. "I inhaled repeatedly, with no exhale. Blood and foam began to spurt out of my mouth through clenched teeth."
Let's talk now about the shakeup at the top of Microsoft. Fewer than three weeks after the unveiling of a new, extensively redesigned Windows operating system, the executive responsible for its launch is gone. NPR's Wendy Kaufman has more.
The health care industry is one of the most reliable sources of new jobs in the country. And in cities that suffer from high unemployment, the local hospital is often the biggest employer still standing. But the downturn in the economy has left some hospitals in perilous financial shape. In Waterbury, Ct,, the biggest hospitals are going through a painful process of outsourcing and layoffs.
Dramatic. Feel the heart beat. That's music from "Halo 4," the latest installment from Microsoft's blockbuster video game series which pits humans against aliens in the future. Last week, "Halo 4" made more than $220 million in the first day sales.
Michael Hervey will leave effective at the end of the year. The New York utility received harsh criticism over how it handled the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Customers have complained about long waits for service to return. Two weeks after the storm tens of thousands of homes and businesses still have no power.
The word nonprofit evokes the image of a charity or a church, an educational institution, public radio station. But David Evans of Bloomberg Markets Magazine took a closer look at the world of nonprofits and discovered something that he considered suspicious. Even though many nonprofits make millions and millions in profits, they pay no taxes.
November 6th saw most Tea Party members reelected to Congress, but there were also notable defeats. Tea Party candidates lost Senate races in Indiana and Missouri. This week, one Tea Party lawmaker suggested in an interview with Politico that it's time to moderate the approach. We invited New York Times reporter Kate Zernike to talk about the status of the Tea Party. She's written a book about it with a great title, "Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America."