“Here is what I was trying to figure out: how a miracle happens.” The Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen’s latest book begins with the “miracle” that occurred on February 21, 2012, when five women belonging to the feminist art collective Pussy Riot clambered onto a platform in Moscow’s Cathedral of Saint Saviour and performed a “Punk Prayer” beseeching “Mother of God, get rid of Putin”.
In 1975, Pier Paolo Pasolini -- philologist, film maker, poet, novelist and political essayist -- was murdered on a wintry beach near Rome by a teen-age hustler with unknown accomplices. Throughout his fervidly productive career, Pasolini had courted contradiction.
In recent weeks, the e-mail messages from home have come flying. ''Are you suffering from a lot of anti-Americanism?'' ''I worry your children might be getting a hard time at school. . . .''
My husband and I don't live in Islamabad or even in Seoul. We live in rural France, whose president has just roused the Bush administration's fury by raising his own international coalition against the invasion of Iraq.