War and peace

By JOHN FREEMAN  |  January 2, 2006

And the hullabaloo over pilgrimages? It will make more sense after you read A Season in Mecca, (Hill & Wang, January 10), Moroccan-American writer Abdellah Hammoudi’s chronicle of traveling to Islam’s holy sites as a “secular Muslim.”

Letters
Readers tend to forget that Albert Camus was part Algerian, but they certainly won’t when they read his journalism and op-ed pieces for a resistance newspaper, which are now available in Camus at Combat: Writing 1944–1947, (Princeton, February 1). A similarly outraged warble can be heard in the plays of Arthur Miller, which are being issued by the Library of America in a handsome omnibus edition, Collected Plays: 1944–1961 (Library of America, February 11).

Finally, Don DeLillo has an all-new play of his own, Love-Lies — Bleeding (Scribner, January 1). Boasting laconic yet liquid dialogue, it presents a family who’re circling the wagons around paterfamilias Alex, who’s suffered a stroke. Here are all the dark desert flowers of death — the feeding tubes and the bathing needs, the Nembutal and the applesauce — and also the silence of the hospital. “What good is a life that doesn’t experience some trace of all possible lives?” asks a character toward the play’s conclusion. “What’s the point of being only who we are?” Indeed, and this is why we read.

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