Melissa Patterson


On “Combative Love”: Q and A with Helen Oyeyemi


Helen Oyeyemi’s fourth novel, Mr. Fox, turns a critical eye on literature’s fascination with menacing heroes and imperiled women.  The book takes its name from the fairytale of Mr. Fox, a variant of the Bluebeard story: Lady Mary famously discovers that Mr. Fox, her betrothed, keeps “a room filled with bodies and skeletons of poor dead women, all stained with their blood.”  This...

On Iphigenia in Tauris by the Canadian Opera Company


Christoph Gluck’s Iphigenia in Tauris, a tragic opera about the fate of survivors, their guilt, and the question of who will pay for the crimes of the past, is a relentlessly dark and difficult challenge for viewers. The program’s awkward synopsis seems to say it all when it opens with the kind of jovial avuncular language that introduces sitcoms: “Every family has its problems, but those of the...