Mister Monkey - a screwball children's musical about a playfully larcenous pet chimpanzee - is the kind of family favorite that survives far past its prime. Margot, who plays the chimp's lawyer, knows the production is dreadful and bemoans the failure of her acting career. She's settled into the drudgery of playing a humiliating part - until the day she receives a mysterious letter from an anonymous admirer and later, in the middle of a performance, has a shocking encounter with Adam, the 12-year-old who plays the title role.
In her entertaining and edifying New York Times bestseller, acclaimed author Francine Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters and discover why their work has endured. Written with passion, humor, and wisdom, Reading Like a Writer will inspire listeners to return to literature with a fresh eye and an eager heart.
Paris in the 1920s: It is a city of intoxicating ambition, passion, art, and discontent, where louche jazz venues like the Chameleon Club draw expats, artists, libertines, and parvenus looking to indulge their true selves. It is at the Chameleon where the striking Lou Villars, an extraordinary athlete and scandalous cross-dressing lesbian, finds refuge among the club's loyal denizens, including the rising photographer Gabor Tsenyi, the socialite and art patron Baroness Lily de Rossignol, and the caustic American writer Lionel Maine.
"A Spectrum of Acceptable Truths"
Acclaimed best-selling author Francine Prose offers a listen of Guggenheim's life that will enthrall enthusiasts of 21st-century art as well as anyone interested in American and European culture and the interrelationships between them. The lively and insightful narrative follows Guggenheim through virtually every aspect of her extraordinary life, from her unique collecting habits and paradigm-changing discoveries to her celebrity friendships, failed marriages, and scandalous affairs.
The Polish monarch has outlawed a portion of the Jewish funeral rite, and none of the community’s lawyers, judges, or scholars will come forward to defend the custom before the crown. Only one man dares challenge the sovereign: The spindly old Rabbi Eliezer of Rimanov, whose eccentric habits conceal the mind of a dreamer and the curiosity of a child. The rabbi is reduced to laughter at the sight of the king, for the country’s ruler is but a boy - and Rabbi Eliezer knows how to speak to youngsters.
"Enthralled by Sicily, Again" is from the June 01, 2016 Travel section of The New York Times. It was written by Francine Prose and narrated by Fleet Cooper.
In the title novella, a third-rate American playwright named Landau attends a literary conference in Prague, where an organized group excursion to a former concentration camp degenerates into a battle of wills and an exercise in egomania and public humiliation. Nina, the heroine of the second novella, "Three Pigs in Five Days," is sent to Paris to write an article for her lover's travel journal - a dizzying, erotic pilgrimage that forces her to see how sex has distorted her view of the world.
"Prefer Nina to Landau and either to Jiri and Leo"
At the center of Francine Prose's profoundly moving new novel is a young girl facing the consequences of sudden loss after the death of her sister. As her parents drift toward their own risky consolations, 13-year-old Nico is left alone to grope toward understanding and clarity, falling into a seductive, dangerous relationship with her sister's enigmatic boyfriend.
The setting is New York's Little Italy in the 1950's - a community closely knit by gossip and tradition. This is the story of an extraordinary family, the Santangelos. There is Joseph, the butcher, who cheats in his shop and at pinochle, only to find the deck is stacked against him; his mother, Mrs. Santangelo, who sees the evil eye everywhere and who calls on her saints; and Catherine, his wife, whose determination to raise a modern daughter leads her to confront ancient questions.
Lula, a 26 -year-old Albanian woman living surreptitiously in New York City on an expiring tourist visa, hopes to make a better life for herself in America. When she lands a job as caretaker to Zeke, a rebellious high school senior in suburban New Jersey, it seems that the security, comfort, and happiness of the American dream may finally be within reach. Her new boss, Mister Stanley, an idealistic college professor turned Wall Street executive, assumes that Lula is a destitute refugee of the Balkan wars.
"A refreshing, creative work of fiction"
The Glorious Ones travel the length and breadth of seventeenth-century Italy, playing commedia dell'arte in the streets and palaces with equal vigor. Founded by the ingenious madman Flamino Scala, the small company of players endures kidnappings and passionate affairs, cabals, riots, and disgrace - all manner of triumph and hardship. Pantalone the miser, sunny Armanda the dwarf, gossip-loving Columbina, and evil-minded Brighella, view their myriad shared adventures through markedly different eyes.
Vincent Nolan, a young neo-Nazi, walks into the Manhattan office of World Brotherhood Watch, a human rights foundation headed by a charismatic Holocaust survivor, Meyer Maslow. Vincent announces that he wants to make a radical change in his life. But what is Maslow to make of this rough-looking stranger who says that his mission is to save guys like him from becoming guys like him?
"A Changed Man is unpredictable"
Jack is spending the summer on a private island far from modern conveniences. No Wi-Fi, no cell service, no one else on the island but a housekeeper and the two very peculiar children in his care. The first time Jack sees the huge black mansion atop a windswept hill, he senses something cold, something more sinister than even the dark house itself. Soon, he feels terribly isolated and alone. Yet he is not alone. The house has visitors - peering in the windows, staring from across the shore. But why doesn't anyone else see them...? And what do they want?
"I'm not a "teen” but I really enjoyed this book"
Though she's written dispatches from across the globe - covering the Loch Ness monster, live dinosaurs, and the ever-enigmatic yeti - Vera Perl never leaves the offices of "This Week," a supermarket tabloid covering the universe's stranger side. Her reporting is done entirely inside her own head, and now she’s contemplating a Bigfoot exposé that will astonish even the most jaded conspiracy theorist. No one is better than Vera at imagining these weird, wild stories, because more than anything, she wants them to be true.
With her trademark acerbic wit and compassion, Francine Prose offers a sharp-eyed consideration of how men and women differ in their pursuit - and avoidance - of power, sex, and competition. A satire of the pieties of New Age religion and knee-jerk feminism, Hunters and Gatherers nevertheless radiates sympathy for our efforts to reconcile spiritual longings with our earthbound, all-too-human nature.
What are these barbaric rituals that pass for social and family life? Who are these fearsome creatures who linger in decaying mansions and at glittery malls, trendy weddings and dinner parties? These are the questions that trouble Simone, a beautiful, smart young Haitian woman.
"Food, Friends and Life-Changing Art: Discovering the Marvels of the Alsace" is from the July 05, 2016 Travel section of The New York Times. It was written by Francine Prose and narrated by Keith Sellon-Wright.
"Is It Harder to Be Transported by a Book as You Get Older?" is from the June 06, 2016 Arts section of The New York Times. It was written by Francine Prose and Benjamin Moser and narrated by Barbara Benjamin-Creel.