In West of Sunset, novelist Stewart O' Nan imagines F. Scott Fitzgerald's final years, which he spent in Hollywood. It's a time when the glow of The Great Gatsby has dimmed, and he's trying to punch up scripts — most of which will never be produced — with a few lines of dialog for $200 a day. Holed up in the Garden of Allah apartments on Sunset Boulevard, he's supporting his daughter and the lost love of his life, Zelda, who is in a North Carolina sanitarium.
The new movie A Most Violent Year is set in New York City in 1981 — a chaotic time of spiraling crime. The story involves corruption in the heating oil industry: the hijacking of fuel tankers, a businessman trying to stay on the straight and narrow, and a prosecutor who has that businessman in his sights. And finally, there's the story of the businessman's wife ... who may hold all the cards.
Jessica Chastain plays Anna Morales, the upwardly mobile daughter of a Brooklyn gangster. She keeps the books for her husband's fuel business — as well as a number of secrets.
In the new movie Cake, Jennifer Aniston plays a woman suffering from chronic, debilitating pain. Her pain is both emotional and physical — her anger is so uncontrollable that she has been kicked out of her chronic pain support group. "You really do not know what happened to this woman," Aniston tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "As the story unfolds you slowly start to discover bits of information as to what happened and why she is in this state."
As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.
Mireya Mayor's life plays out like an adventure film.
The state of race relations in the United States has captivated the country for months. But a group of Northeastern University law students is looking to the past to a sometimes forgotten, violent part of American history.
Here's a common complaint about poetry: It's the oldest form of expression, but what can it do for us now, in an age of social media, Twitter, Facebook and national urgency?
African-American poet Claudia Rankine's latest collection, Citizen: An American Lyric, has an answer. It's a very personal meditation on race in America with a cover that recalls Trayvon Martin — a black hoodie against a white background.