Modern-Day Oracles: On Alice Wong’s “Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life”

SEPTEMBER 15, 2022 IN EARLY 2020, Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas, openly said that the elderly or infirm should simply sacrifice themselves so the economy could stay on track. Another official in California suggested letting the virus run its course on “the sick, the old, the injured” in order to “fix” society. Over … Read more

Life Is Everywhere | Lucy Ives

Erin’s mother knew about the Midwesterner. Erin had told her mother about the incident a few weeks after she had come home. ‘So?’ her mother had said. Erin had of course not explained the feeling of coercion, the feeling of being dragged into the sway of something that had already taken place, long ago, and … Read more

Shakespeare’s private life

Following Lee Oser’s advice for full disclosure (Letters, August 19/26) when discussing Lena Cowen Orlin’s Private Life of William Shakespeare, I declare that I have encountered her on several occasions when she has used the library where I am employed as a librarian – that is my only connection. Bart van Es’s review of Orlin’s … Read more

Books exploring friendship, being trans, life in Mumbai, body image, and more

Somehow, summer is already winding down. I’d like to say that I made a major dent in my TBR pile (actually, cart, see below), but for every book I read, another book appeared here. I like post-it-style reviews because it allows me to quickly share about books I enjoyed. With it being back to school … Read more

“I’m an Idiot”. Please Kill Me”: On Markiyan Kamysh’s “Stalking the Atomic City: Life Among the Decadent and the Depraved of Chornobyl”

JULY 22, 2022 ONE OF THE FIRST locations Russian troops occupied after invading Ukraine on February 24 was the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a thousand-square-mile tract of contaminated land surrounding the defunct nuclear power plant. The brazen seizure further elevated global anxiety over Russia’s and stoked fears of another catastrophe at the site of the world’s … Read more

Pragmatic and Passionate, Cunning and Callous: On David S. Brown’s “The First Populist: The Defiant Life of Andrew Jackson”

JULY 11, 2022 EVEN 175 YEARS after his death, Andrew Jackson is still all the rage, and a continual source of outrage. During the unexpected rise of Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016, Steve Bannon and other pundits compared to the future 45th president to Jackson, ascribing to him a similar status as a … Read more

The Life of Art: On Frederic Tuten’s “The Bar at Twilight”

JULY 9, 2022 THE TALES COLLECTED in Frederic Tuten’s The Bar at Twilight Make me think of the sculptor Alexander Calder creating and playing with the elements of his circus, performing it in Paris for contemporaries and friends such as Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, and Joan Miró. Later video documentation shows the artist taking his … Read more

Life: a user’s manual

Although radically different, these films both portrayed atypical family structures among the bourgeoisie; in particular they portray the impact of severe illness on the relationship between fathers and daughters. The French director François Ozon’s Everything Went Fine, adapted from the autobiographical novel by Emmanuèle Bernheim, begins punchily: within minutes, middle-aged sisters Emmanuèle (Sophie Marceau) and … Read more

A study of provincial life

Alejandro Zambra wrote two books of poems in his twenties. Since turning thirty, he has written five novels. What looks like a simple transition disguises the fact that genre realignment is not always as absolute as it might appear from the layout of bookshops and bibliographies. Zambra’s first four novels—translated with great freshness by Megan … Read more

Let’s Talk About Coming Out (in Life and Fiction), a guest post by Jen Ferguson

I’m out on twitter and have been for a long-ish while. At least, I’m out as a kick-ass demisexual. I don’t often talk about the fact that my attraction, when it shows up, isn’t confined by any specific gender. That being said, as much as some of us think so, the internet isn’t everything. I … Read more