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Archive: 2016

Candid Camera

From transcripts of conversations between Maria Irene Fornes, a Cuban-American playwright and director, and Michelle Memran, a filmmaker. Memran’s documentary about Fornes’s life, The Rest I Make Up, is currently…

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Likely Story

Discussed in this essay: Thus Bad Begins, by Javier Marías. Knopf. 464 pages. $27.95. About a third of the way through Thus Bad Begins, the narrator, a young man named…

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Cold Fish

Key West is Neil’s idea, and Mara can’t think of a reason to refuse. She knows next to nothing about the Keys, only that it’s expensive to buy bread and…

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The New Red Scare

“Welcome to the world of strategic analysis,” Ivan Selin used to tell his team during the Sixties, “where we program weapons that don’t work to meet threats that don’t exist.”…

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Hungry Souls

From emails sent by Maria Bistline, a manager at the food storehouse for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to Preston Barlow, a church official. The emails…

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Cast Away

Deep within each mortal lie lonely and remote provinces no other human being may share. My wife holds no inquest on my annual fishing mania. She merely endures it as…

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Harper’s Index

Portion of TSA funding that is spent on surface transportation : 1/50 Percentage by which U.S. railway fatalities outnumbered aviation fatalities last year : 78 Percentage change since 2014 in the number of U.S.…

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Separated at Birth

One December evening in 1987, on assignment for a glossy travel magazine to write about island resorts in the wintertime, I took cover from a sleet storm in a Nantucket…

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Only a Game

From a letter written by Karl Ove Knausgaard to Fredrik Ekelund, a novelist, in 2014. The letter was included in Home and Away, a collection of their letters about the…

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Standing Rock Speaks

Only as a story will this make sense. One morning in August, craving company, I walked around the corner from my apartment in Livingston, Montana, and sat down at the…

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The Curse

By Javier Marías, from To Begin at the Beginning, a reflection on the art of writing fiction. The book was published in October by Sylph Editions as part of their…

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Prose by Any Other Name

From interviews conducted by journalists and readers with Elena Ferrante since 2003. The correspondence is included in Frantumaglia, a collection of Ferrante’s papers that was published last month by Europa…

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Trigger Warning

From a list of objects that were mistaken for guns during shootings of civilians by police in the United States since 2001. Read More

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Still Life

From exercises designed by Marina Abramovic, a Serbian performance artist, for student workshops that she taught in the 1990s. Abramovic’s memoir, Walk Through Walls, was published in October by Crown…

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Findings

Riding Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad helps people pass kidney stones, and approximately 100 million opioid pills prescribed each year for wisdom-tooth extraction in the United States are not…

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Grammar Yahtzee

From a post on Object Dreams, a Tumblr blog. The post is a rewriting of The Elements of Style using predictive text, a program that assists typing by anticipating which…

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With Child

Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from…

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So Subtle a Catch

In April of last year, under the crisp light of an embryonic English spring, Darren Wakenell pulled his Citroën hatchback onto the gravel driveway of Timberland, a private fishery nestled…

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Sound And Fury

By Peter Handke, from The Moravian Night, which was published this month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Handke is the author of more than a dozen novels. Translated from the…

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Letters

Feuding Fathers Robert Sullivan mentions my reservations about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton merely to say that criticizing the musical makes you “feel like a churl,” given its upbeat message and immense…

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A Man of Limited

By Cyrus Console, from a manuscript in progress. Console is the author of The Odicy (Omnidawn). Read More

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The Priest in the Trees

On the last Sunday in September 2015, the Reverend Stephen Blackmer stopped beside the stand of beech stumps where he had once performed the chain-saw Eucharist. He was leading a…

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