Essays

January 27, 2015

Born Out of Rapt Distraction: On Silvina Ocampo’s ‘Thus Were Their Faces’ 0

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On a moment-to-moment basis the terms of the continued existence of any individual are far more fragile than we dare to feel.

January 26, 2015

I Would Do This for You: The Narrative Possibilities of Leaked Emails 3

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Wikileaks and the news media were interested in these emails for their geopolitical implications, but they also represent a veritable cornucopia of narrative pleasures, all the more delectable because they are strange and secret and real.

January 22, 2015

Summer without End 0

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The habitual aspect may be the antidote to anxiety. But patterns finish. The rhythm ends in grief. The grooves betray.

January 21, 2015

It’s Not You, It’s Us: Apartment Hunting in Brooklyn 20

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I couldn’t really picture myself living here. But I tried anyway. I had a premonition of standing in the middle of a pretty-decent sized kitchen, sautéing garlic shrimp for my blow-up girlfriend.

January 20, 2015

Is ‘Jesus’ Son’ a ‘Red Cavalry’ Rip-Off? 2

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What does Denis Johnson mean by calling his most iconic book a “rip-off” of Red Cavalry? In terms of locations and circumstances, the books are radically different. But, on closer look, they actually do share a lot in common.

January 20, 2015

A World Made of Words: On Anthony Doerr’s Nouns and Verbs 16

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Twenty-one words, three simple clauses, and wham, you are there.

January 14, 2015

Biography: The Incredible Expanding Form 3

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Nowadays, human beings are no longer the sole suitable subjects for a biography, which is coming to mean an account of just about anything’s life, or history, or essence.

January 14, 2015

You’re (Not) My Favorite 10

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Favorites — either being them or having them — were for suckers. Favorites were out.

January 9, 2015

Glad Hall: On the Cycles of Home 1

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Houses hold memories — even if not all of them are good ones. They hold the life of a family — its beginnings, its end.

January 7, 2015

Alive with Disagreement and Dissent: On A.O. Scott, Politics, and Art 3

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It is natural to hope, even if that hope is somewhat against the weight of experience, that artists can light the path ahead.