Six Questions

Six Questions — July 1, 2014, 2:02 pm

Christopher Beha on Arts and Entertainments

Christopher Beha discusses sex tapes as literary vehicle, the celebrity impulse, and the problematic absence of religion in American literature

Christopher Beha © Ira Lipkke

Six Questions — June 30, 2014, 11:00 am

Jeff Sharlet on Radiant Truths

Jeff Sharlet on his collection of essential dispatches, reports, confessions, and other essays on American belief

Jeff Sharlet

Six Questions — June 23, 2014, 8:00 am

Rivka Galchen on American Innovations: Stories

The characters in Rivka Galchen’s new collection, American Innovations, are as surprised and confused by time travel, mysterious growths, and encounters with the dead as they are by being unemployed, getting divorced, and falling in love. In “Once an Empire,” which was published in the February 2010 issue of Harper’s Magazine, a woman arrives home to find her furniture climbing down the fire escape. Other stories revisit such classics as Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and Borges’s “The Aleph,” but consider them all from the perspectives of women. In each story, Galchen creates a world at once recognizable but disturbed, uncertain …

Rivka Galchen © Sandy Tait

No Comment, Six Questions — June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

Mark Denbeaux © Sean Sime

Heart of Empire, Six Questions — May 6, 2014, 2:37 pm

Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare

Gareth Porter on the true history of Iran’s nuclear program

Gareth Porter. Photograph by Mike Chiaverina

Six Questions — March 28, 2014, 1:05 pm

The Empathy Exams: Essays

Leslie Jamison on empathy in craft and in life

Leslie Jamison © Colleen Kinder

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"The past is complicated, and explaining it is not just a trick, but a gamble."
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Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.

Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.

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"The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion."
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