David Joy’s ‘Line That Held Us’ a dark tale of revenge in Appalachia

Fictional tales of dark doings in the hollers and hamlets of Appalachia have become so prolific in recent years, they’ve spawned their own genre: Appalachian noir. North Carolina author David Joy is one of its leading proponents. But his third novel, “The Line That Held Us,” is straight up Southern gothic, and it is as horrifying and delicious as that label suggests. It takes a while for … Continue reading David Joy’s ‘Line That Held Us’ a dark tale of revenge in Appalachia

‘We Fed an Island’ portrays chef’s radical approach to disaster relief

The latest estimate of lives lost in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria is nearing 3,000 and rising. In reading “We Fed an Island” by chef José Andrés, one wonders what that number might have been had the author not arrived five days after the storm and — with the help of 25,000 volunteers — disrupted a federal relief effort he portrays as paralyzed … Continue reading ‘We Fed an Island’ portrays chef’s radical approach to disaster relief

The mysterious allure of Marfa

Most city slogans are kind of dumb. Even if they sound clever at first, they begin to annoy over time. I’d be happy if I never heard, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” again. Or “Keep Austin Weird.” If you’ve been to Austin lately, you know that battle has been lost. But whoever came up with the slogan for Marfa, Texas, nailed it: “Tough … Continue reading The mysterious allure of Marfa

Muckraking duo’s legacy endures in photo show of ’80s-era homeless

With eyes so big they dwarf his gaunt face, the child stands beside an open refrigerator, its contents looking more like garbage than food. Dead flies appear to float in the sludge coagulated on the bottom shelf. Captured in black-and-white, the haunting image and others like it provided the centerpiece for a 1967 congressional hearing on poverty that resulted in an overhaul of the federal … Continue reading Muckraking duo’s legacy endures in photo show of ’80s-era homeless

Amber Tamblyn flips the script with debut novel, ‘Any Man’

Amber Tamblyn has already had a more varied career than most people twice her age. Perhaps best known for her roles in “Joan of Arcadia,” “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and “House,” the 35-year-old actress also has published three books of poetry and directed a feature film, “Paint It Black,” in 2016. Her nonpaying jobs include activist and parent, a responsibility she shares with … Continue reading Amber Tamblyn flips the script with debut novel, ‘Any Man’

After the Storm: Volunteer trip to Puerto Rico reveals island still recovering 5 months later

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — When Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico for 12 hours last September, I watched the news in horror like everyone else. Although I am not of Puerto Rican descent, it felt personal. I was 13 years old when my family moved from our quiet, suburban ranch house in Charlotte, N.C., to a high-rise apartment in San Juan for my father’s job. … Continue reading After the Storm: Volunteer trip to Puerto Rico reveals island still recovering 5 months later

‘Still Hungry in America’ revisits 1967 photo project that helped change food stamp policy

Standing in the doorway, a stick-thin arm protectively crossed against his solar plexus, the dirty-faced boy stares with furrowed brow at the camera. He’s not the focal point of the black-and-white photograph. That’s reserved for the pre-adolescent girl and toddler, whom she holds in her arms with the self-assurance of a seasoned mother. The boy huddles in their shadow. He looks to be around 8 … Continue reading ‘Still Hungry in America’ revisits 1967 photo project that helped change food stamp policy