Randy Boyagoda

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Reviews — From the September 2009 issue

Perpetual motion

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The education of Aleksandar Hemon

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Bright lights, big speeches

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Ralph Ellison and the perils of publicity

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Magic and greed

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Ngugi wa Thiong’o's new novel

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Bleakness

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The implacable politics of Jos??© Saramago

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“1. Death, The Sound of Perseverance (Nuclear Blast, 1998)”
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“He explained how sober Doug structured the bits and worked out the material’s logic; drunk Doug found the funny.”
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[Letter from Bentonville]
Citizen Walmart·

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From the July 2012 issue

“He’s taking on a heap of debt to scale up for Walmart, a heap of debt.”
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Discussed in this essay:

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt. 352 pages. $28.

The extinction symbol is a spare graphic that began to appear on London walls and sidewalks a couple of years ago. It has since become popular enough as an emblem of protest that people display it at environmental rallies. Others tattoo it on their arms. The symbol consists of two triangles inscribed within a circle, like so:

“The triangles represent an hourglass; the circle represents Earth; the symbol as a whole represents, according to a popular Twitter feed devoted to its dissemination (@extinctsymbol, 19.2K followers), “the rapidly accelerating collapse of global biodiversity” — what scientists refer to alternately as the Holocene extinction, the Anthropocene extinction, and (with somewhat more circumspection) the sixth mass extinction.

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Consume, Screw, Kill·

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“Now may be the unlikeliest time for us to grow a conscience about how our rapacity is endangering other species, since we’re now aware of how frightfully our rapacity is endangering us.”
Collage (detail) by David McLimans

Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:

2:1

Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.

Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.

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