We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner


Beyond versatile

Rob Clearfield

Every so often there's a new talent who sounds like bottled lightning. Chicagoan Rob Clearfield, not yet 30, is blessed as well with a relentless work ethic.


Being Polite to Hitler, by Robb Forman Drew

To the fictional Julian Bright­man, an obtuse maker of propaganda films for the U.S. government, Washburn, Ohio, is the town "most representative of ordinary life in the United States during what he characterized as the prosperous and serene aftermath of World War II." Here he sets his camera to work to enlighten the world about the lives of ordinary Americans.


The Illumination, by Kevin Brockmeier

In the opening pages of The Illumination, a woman cuts her finger with a knife and the wound emits a silvery light. At the hospital, she learns that this is happening all over the world—every site of injury, pain or sickness shines.


Virtually You, by Elias Aboujaoude

Enough already. Do I need yet another book to tell me that the latest technology is messing with my head? Late medieval church leaders, after all, didn't care for Gutenberg's invention, without which the Reformation would have remained a purely local aberration.


Jane Eyre

Directed by Cary Fukunaga

Dramatic adaptations of Char­lotte Brontë's Jane Eyre tend to go for romantic embroidery and Gothic grandilo­quence. But the new movie version feels pared down in all respects except the emotional. It has a piercing ferocity.