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Robert Anthony Siegel :
11 article(s)

Robert is the author of All Will Be Revealed and All the Money in the World. Born in New York City and educated at Harvard, the University of Tokyo, and the Iowa Writers Workshop, he teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.
July 14th, 2008
Contributing Editor Robert Anthony Siegel is invited to read from his recent novel at Google's distinguished author series

Longtime Busted Halo® contributing editor Robert Anthony Siegel recently traveled to Google’s headquarters to participate in the company’s prestigious Authors@Google series with a reading from his most recent novel All Will Be Revealed…. The series, held in Mountain View, California, has also played host to such luminaries as Noam Chomsky, Richard Price and Salman Rushdie.
Siegel was born in New York City and educated at Harvard, the University of Tokyo, and the Iowa Writers Workshop. He teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, where he lives with his wife, the writer Karen E. Bender, and their two children. He has received fellowships from the Japanese

December 13th, 2007
Mailer's final book reimagines God, the devil, heaven, hell and our search for meaning in the world

Who is God? Is he the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful being of Judeo-Christian thought? Or might he be something less ultimate, more vulnerable? Might he even need our help? And if this is true, if we are God’s last chance, what hope is there for the future of the world?
This kind of freewheeling religious speculation isn’t seen much in contemporary American culture, but if anyone can still pose questions like these it’s Norman Mailer, one of the preeminent literary figures of the last half century.
Mailer, who died in November at the age of 84, was a celebrated writer with a taste for big topics and provocative ideas. His first novel, The Naked and the Dead…, was an instant classic, a gut-wrenching

December 6th, 2007
Reflections on God from a Spiritual Odd Couple

The Faith Between Us, by Peter Bebergal and Scott Korb, is the story of a failed Jewish mystic and a would-be Catholic priest who meet and become friends while searching for the meaning of God. The book’s range is broad, encompassing rock-and-roll, drug addiction, cancer, sex, veganism, marriage and family, but it always comes back to the same small group of inescapable, maddening questions. What is faith? What is belief? What is holiness? What is love? Bebergal and Korb are a kind of spiritual Odd Couple, separated by religion and life experience but bound together by a thirst for God and a deep trust in one another. The book they have written is funny, heartbreaking, thought-provoking, unsparingly honest…

March 6th, 2007
An exclusive excerpt from the soon-to-be-released novel, ALL WILL BE REVEALED, by a BustedHalo contributing editor

Verena Swann sat in her carriage, peeking through the curtain at the crowd of mourners filling the avenue. Derbies, bonnets, slick black umbrellas, here and there a pale, wet face like a camellia—pointed straight at her. They were waiting for her to open the door and get out, to become theirs—waiting for a woman who loved her husband so much she would not let him go, even in death.

Leopold, her brother-in-law, peered over her shoulder. “Look at this,” he whispered. “Thousands standing in the rain, for you.”

“For him,” she corrected. It was uncomfortable hearing the thought aloud. This was Theodore’s funeral, after all. They were here to honor him, to…

June 16th, 2006
A father remembers the day the world busted open

When my son Jonah was born I would look at his pudgy little face with the wisps of brown hair over his head and feel how deeply the world had changed for me. When he cried, I felt his hunger, and when he smiled, I felt his pleasure. To be honest, the experience was little frightening: I wasn’t sure I wanted to be that open to anyone, even my own child. But now that he was here, I didn’t seem to have a choice.
Not long after his birth I was walking down the street when I saw a homeless man rattling a cup. I’d lived my entire life in New York, and stepping around hungry, dirty people was second nature to me, but for some reason I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t see him. Suddenly my mind started to tilt. He’s…

April 24th, 2006
A Morality play with Mobster style

Will Vito get whacked for wearing leather? Will Paulie forgive his mother for being his aunt? Will Carmela ever succeed in building that million-dollar spec house out of cardboard and glue?
As the sixth season of The Sopranos passes the half-way mark, we need to momentarily disentangle ourselves from such pressing questions and address an even bigger issue: why is it that we still care?
It’s not because of the menace in Tony Soprano’s eyes when somebody crosses him, or the periodic explosions of violence when wise guys clash over money and respect—as fun as those things are. The answer, I believe, is that The Sopranos is not just wonderful storytelling but that it addresses moral experience…

April 7th, 2006
Colliding head-on with religion (and myself) deep in the heart of Dixie

Growing up Jewish in New York City, I had no idea that I was a member of a ridiculously small religious minority. That blithe unawareness had something to do with the relatively large number of Jews living there, obviously, but it was also connected to the secular tenor of public life in America’s most international city: religion was considered a private matter; it never came up among strangers or casual acquaintances, and certainly never in a business situation. There was a strong awareness that the other guy might well turn out to be Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Jain, and that it was safer not to risk giving (or receiving) offense.
In 2002 I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, and everything changed.…

March 2nd, 2006
The author of Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right talks about America's spiritual crisis

FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover once called Michael Lerner the most dangerous man in America because of his anti-Vietnam war activities. A sixties radical and member of the Seattle Seven (radical anti-war protestors who were charged with “conspiracy to incite a riot” in 1970), Lerner went on to practice psychotherapy, edit a magazine and—perhaps most surprising of all—become a rabbi. He brings these multiple perspectives to bear in his new book on religion and politics, The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right.
The Left Hand of God begins with a lament for the spiritual crisis Rabbi Lerner sees in contemporary America. “We live in a world in which a technocratic…

January 12th, 2006
Critic Harold Bloom wrestles with God in Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine

Who is Jesus? Who is God? Is it possible to discuss them apart from theological abstractions, as personalities with distinctly individual ways of seeing the world? And if so, do these personalities matter to us now in contemporary America? These are the questions that Harold Bloom addresses in his provocative new book, Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine.
Bloom comes to this task with an extraordinary pedigree. A professor at Yale, he is one of the most influential literary critics of the last forty years, the author of more than twenty books and the winner of numerous prizes, including a MacArthur “genius” award. In recent years, he has taken to writing for a general audience: The Western Canon, a…

January 16th, 2002
An Infinity of Little Hours: The Trial of Faith of Five Young Men in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order

What would it be like to see the face of God with your own eyes?
In the year 1084 St. Bruno of Cologne and six companions climbed a mountain in the French Alps with the goal of doing exactly that: achieving union with God in their own lifetime. Despite the intense cold, they built huts for themselves at the very top of the mountain and took up lives of solitude, contemplation and prayer. In doing so, they founded the Carthusian order, the most austere monastic order in the Western world.
Nearly 900 years later, Paddy O’Connell, a young Irishman not yet thirty, pulls the bell rope outside the gatehouse of the imposing Carthusian monastery in Parkminster, England, and asks admittance. Hans Klein, an East German,…

January 13th, 2002
A conversation with the author of An Infinity of Little Hours

BustedHalo: Nancy, your book, An Infinity of Little Hours, is an extraordinary look at life inside a Carthusian monastery, something no one has ever done before. The reason you were able to do it is that you have an unusual connection: you are married to a former Carthusian monk—one of the five monks whose experiences you chronicle in the book. So let’s begin at the beginning: how did you two meet?
Nancy Klein Maguire: I was teaching at Loyola University in Chicago and the other woman on the faculty—it was 1967 and there were only two of us—was asked to look out for an ex-Carthusian who had just left the monastery . She said to me, let’s go have coffee with this young man and see if he needs help adjusting. So she…

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