Pretending the Unhoused Away

IN THE 1920s, Herbert Croly wrote of the sense of malleability that prevailed across Southern California, a place “in which almost any kind of house is practical and almost any kind of plant will grow.” A brief walk through Los Angeles’s Silver Lake neighborhood confirms this impression, showing off midcentury modern mansions poured from concrete, … Read more

The Paris Review – Re-Covered: I Leap Over the Wall by Monica Baldwin

In Re-Covered, Lucy Scholes exhumes the out-of-print and forgotten books that shouldn’t be. Photograph by Lucy Scholes. Ten years after Monica Baldwin voluntarily entered an enclosed religious order of Augustinian nuns, she began to think she might have made a mistake. She had entered the order on October 26, 1914, shortly after the outbreak of … Read more

The Paris Review – Sheila Heti and Kathryn Scanlan Recommend

Kathryn Scanlan’s copy of Kathi Hofer: “Grandma” Prisbrey’s Bottle Village. Kathi Hofer: “Grandma” Prisbrey’s Bottle Village, published last year by Leipzig’s Spector Books, is a nice-looking hardback about the vernacular art environment Tressa Prisbre built in Santa Susana, California, a former railroad town now incorporated into Simi Valley. The volume was compiled, introduced, and translated … Read more

A Genius on the Wrong Side of History: Tolstoy’s Conflicts and Contradictions

IT IS DAUNTING to write a biography of Tolstoy. Hundreds or even thousands of books have already put each detail of his life and work under a microscope, and the archives contain no more hidden treasures. Yet, new interpretations of Tolstoy’s life continue to pour in, with more expected in the run-up to the writer’s … Read more

The Paris Review – There Are No Minor Characters: On Jane Gardam

JANE GARDAM WITH HER HUSBAND, DAVID, HER SON, TIM, AND FAMILY FRIENDS, 1957. Photograph courtesy of Jane Gardam. You should read Old Filth, someone said to me about ten years ago. I couldn’t for the life of me, in true Gardam fashion, remember who that friend was until just now—it was the writer Nancy Lemann—but … Read more