Manning's current work on The Odyssey Project film grows out of the belief that relying on that "sophisticated machine" of mainstream media to tell the truth about incarcerated young men of color would be an exercise in futility.
There is enough in the characters and the dialogue -- even in the costumes, with some actors drifting on wearing basketball sneakers -- to tell us that Father Comes Home is a play of ideas and freedom that directly speaks to us, here in the 21st century.
The boys shuffle in from the bright Isla Vista heat outside, eight teenagers dressed in the navy blue polo shirt, slacks, and black-and-white converse sneakers that constitute the uniform of the juvenile detention center a few miles outside of town.
No matter how beautifully written or "literary," a novel resonates deeply because the storyline tugs powerfully at us. It upsets, confounds and presents chaos, conflict, imbalance and upheaval -- either within its character's mind or circumstances.
These days we are seeing a blood-sausage renaissance as this dividend of the whole-animal trend is showing up on chic restaurant menus and being embraced by a new generation of offal eaters. Here are some fascinating examples.
Great literature, because it asks big questions and communicates big ideas, stays relevant, even if it is very old. You will be richer, wiser, and smarter if you make classic literature a regular part of your life.