Magic Hours

Tom Bissell ponders creators, their creations, and the toll that creativity takes.  From Herzog's films to a sitcom set -- and on to the world of a novelist who became an icon for a generation, these essays infectiously transmit the passion shared by the writer and his subjects.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…