Articles by Praveen Rathinavelu
November 30, 2007
Noah Baumbach’s “Margot at the Wedding” is a broad, relentless portrait of a family perpetually strained to the point of breaking. But, oddly, it never does. It is a family whose members are racked by insecurities and self-doubt; they lash out at each other in ways that are almost incomparably cruel. Yet somehow you leave the theater knowing that the characters feel deeply for each other.
October 12, 2007
When I first heard about 365 days/365 plays, Suzan-Lori Parks’ project to spend a year writing one play a day, I remember thinking it was a little, um, ambitious. But I also remember reading her play, Topdog/Underdog, which brought fresh ideas on racial identity, history’s everyday presence, masculinity as a weapon, and masculinity as a weakness. I suppose few people would be better equipped than Parks for such an undertaking.
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September 21, 2007
Last fall, I took a class in American Literature that read Drown, a collection of short stories by the Dominican writer, and MIT professor, Junot Díaz. I considered myself a pretty well read individual; said considerations generally rely on knowledge of, more than anything, names. I toted the titles of canonical heavyweights like Faulkner and Melville in classrooms, parties, and dorm rooms. A young Dominican-American author, whose debut work described life in both the Dominican Republic and immigrant America with enough fervor and sadness to knock the breath out of you, wasn’t really something I was accustomed to.