Horton Foote, Horton Foote’s Three Trips to Bountiful: Teleplay, Stageplay, and Screenplay. Originally written for live TV in 1953, The Trip to Bountiful, the poignant story of an old woman trapped in Houston who longs to visit her rural home one last time, was adapted by Foote for the stage and, in 1983, the screen. This invaluable 1993 volume, published by Southern Methodist University Press, contains all three scripts, accompanied by interviews with Foote and his various collaborators. I can’t think of a better way to study the differences between the three media–or to deepen your familiarity with a once-obscure play that is now rightly regarded as an American classic (TT).
Archives for November 5, 2011
V.S. Naipaul, The Mimic Men. Now that the uproar over Sir Vidia’s nastiness has started to subside, it’s worth recalling why we cared about him in the first place. Start with this bracingly astringent 1967 novel about a Caribbean politician whose uneasy embrace of Western manners and mores leaves him doubly estranged from the two worlds that he straddles. To my mind, it’s the best of Naipaul’s books–and the wisest (TT).
Sabine Feisst, Schoenberg’s New World: The American Years (Oxford, $35). A satisfyingly thorough and probing study of Arnold Schoenberg’s life in America, to which he emigrated in 1933. Even if, like me, you don’t care much for his music, you’ll find it absorbing to read about how this most European of composers came to grips with the strange new world of southern California, which he liked far more than is generally realized. Though Feisst’s prose style is decidedly academic, Schoenberg’s New World tells a story so interesting that–for once–the quality of the writing doesn’t matter (TT).
Pat Metheny, What’s It All About (Nonesuch). A lovely sequel to One Quiet Night, Metheny’s 2009 album of acoustic-guitar solos. This time around the fare consists of pop standards, some likely (“Alfie”), others joltingly unexpected (“Betcha by Golly, Wow”), and all played with luminescent sensitivity. Ideal for wee-small-hours listening (TT).
Dancing at Lughnasa (Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 W. 22, extended through Jan. 29). Brian Friel’s 1990 masterpiece, a tragicomic memory play about the coming of modernity to Ireland, has been revived to piercingly enthralling effect by my favorite off-Broadway company. Absolutely not to be missed under any circumstances whatsoever (TT).
Clark Terry, Clark: The Autobiography of Clark Terry (University of California, $34.95). A pungent, unusually plain-spoken memoir by the celebrated jazz trumpeter and educator. Though Terry, one of the few remaining musicians to have played with both Count Basie and Duke Ellington, is speaking through a ghostwriter (his second wife), Clark sounds like a real person swapping stories after hours, and the results are hugely readable (TT).