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Miscellany

Bumpy Ride

One sunny winter afternoon in western Michigan, I took a ride with Leon Slater, a slight sixty-four-year-old man with a neatly trimmed white beard and intense eyes behind his spectacles.…

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Labor’s Schoolhouse

Around the time that Donald Trump became the Republican Party’s nominee for president, my wife and I visited the American Labor Museum at the Botto House National Landmark, in Haledon,…

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Bee-Brained

The final two contestants of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, held just outside Washington last May, had gone head-to-head for ten rounds. Nihar Janga, a toothy eleven-year-old with a bowl…

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Little Things

Lori DeBacker drives a Mini Cooper, owns a runt dog, and lives with her husband, a model-train enthusiast, in a twelve-room Victorian house whose tearoom is outfitted with three-quarter-scale furniture.…

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The Notes of Patrick Modiano

“We’ve had a bit of a crisis,” Hughes de Courson told me on a raw Parisian morning last February. I’d found him slumped at a table overlooking the cobblestones of…

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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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Arrow Heads

When an Olympic archer readies to shoot, she is staring down a distance of seventy meters — roughly three quarters of a football field — and aiming to hit a…

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Ex Post

Reading fan mail doesn’t swell your head, though it often startles by extremes: “You are my friend, Annie Dillard, you are my true fucking friend.” Of course you never hear…

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The Queen and I

Last September, Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning monarch in British history, surpassing Victoria, her great-great-grandmother, who ruled for 63 years and 217 days. Fawning journalists behaved like King Arthur’s knights…

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Getting to the End

For roughly a five-year stretch beginning in 1995, I worked in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a dealer in several casino resorts. It wasn’t that dealing had been a career…

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Miracles and Wonders

The human breast moves in complex ways, a fleshy oscillation. This was demonstrated in an experiment conducted by Australian researchers, in which large-busted women ran on a treadmill while wearing…

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The Man Stopped

This untitled and undated piece may well be the last complete unpublished short story by Vladimir Nabokov. It was probably written and rough-sanded in the summer of 1926, when Nabokov…

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Some Notes on Song

For Yasmine Hamdan, singer When I was watching and listening to you perform last week, Yasmine, I had an impulse to draw you — an absurd impulse because it was…

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Stop Time

It’s unmissable, the memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval. It can be seen from a distance, across the rolling fields, and if there were any doubt of…

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Found Money

Every day, all across the country, people travel near and far to assess exteriors — of homes and luggage and corrugated-iron cubes — and fantasize about what might be, but…

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A Brief History of Scent

The smell of a place at a particular moment could be said to follow the same rules as any perfume, but with a far greater degree of complexity. Typically, a…

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The Separating Sickness

Eddie Bacon was a forklift operator at Trident Seafoods in Akutan, Alaska. In the summer of 1999, he developed mysterious rashes on his hands, arms, and legs. He visited a…

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A Letter to Paul Wolfowitz

Dear Paul, I have been meaning to write to you for some time, and the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war provides as good an occasion as…

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Disaster Aversion

Like many a girl with a long-dead father, I refer to myself as a girl rather than as a woman, and I gravitate to places I suspect my father, dead…

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March 2018