Some writers you read and move on, but every now and then you read one whose work knocks you back against the wall. This happened to me with the great Italian novelist Elena Ferrante.
I first encountered her through her scalding 2002 novel, The Days Of Abandonment, whose narrator, Olga, may be the scariest jilted wife since Medea. What makes Olga scary is not what she does, but what she thinks and feels, and her ferocious precision in describing everything from lousy sexual encounters to her not-altogether-maternal feelings about her children.
Monday is the 34th anniversary of the 1979 storming of the American Embassy in Tehran, when Iranian militants took 66 hostages and held them for more than a year. U.S.-Iranian relations have been contentious ever since, but recent events have stirred hopes for progress.
Iranian voters overwhelmingly chose a more moderate president in June, and American and Iranian mediators are meeting to try to resolve disputes about Iran's nuclear program.