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Reviews

New Books

No one can torch the English language like a Beltway insider. A few years ago, phrases like “a feature, not a bug” and “saying the quiet part out loud” burned…

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New Books

I’m a father now. Please, hold your applause. As I write this, my son is fifteen days old, and I’m staring into the soft hurricane whorl of his hair, thinking…

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New Books

Because I’ve written about government conspiracies, I sometimes hear from crazy people. “Only the intervention of AI can stop Man from creating Hell cybernetically,” one wrote recently. “It would be…

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Children for Sale

When Guatemalan adoption became big business

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New Books

I was six the first time I recall setting foot in a funeral home, and I remember my confusion at the phrase—a home where none but the dead lived, and…

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Lady Day of the Alhambra

Billie Holiday’s changeable shade

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New Books

Carrie Sun used to be on the side of Big Money. Her memoir, Private Equity (Penguin Press, $29), describes her disillusioning tenure as an assistant to Boone Prescott, the founder…

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Sometimes Gamesome, Sometimes Sad

The elusive fiction of Phyllis Paul

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New Books

The Wa State is an autonomous zone nestled in the highlands of Myanmar bordering China and Thailand. You won’t find it on United Nations maps, but it’s about the size…

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Sex and Grue in Ancient Rome

On Mary Beard’s lives of the Caesars

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The Discreet Eminence

On the enduring legacy of Marshal Pétain

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New Books

On May 21, 1991, in the third-floor men’s room at the University of Chicago Divinity School, a student noticed a hand dangling beneath one of the partitions, already turning blue.…

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Overwhelming and Collective Murder

The grand, gruesome theories of René Girard

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New Books

Did you get this message?, by Esther Pearl Watson © The artist. Courtesy Vielmetter Los Angeles So you’ve seen a UFO—great! May I suggest keeping a lid on it? The…

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All the Images Will Disappear

On Annie Ernaux’s spectacular impersonality

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New Books

A few years ago I found myself close to an episode of tabloid intrigue. A friend’s uncle was accused of murdering his wife in a rich Connecticut town. He attempted suicide…

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From Churn to Burn

Colson Whitehead’s half-true Harlem

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Do Cartels Exist?

A revisionist view of the drug wars

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New Books

Blue Self-Portrait, by Arnold Schoenberg, circa 1910. Courtesy the Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna The Lexicon of Musical Invective may be the only music reference book compiled mainly out of spite.…

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New Books

Human Lock, by Vojtěch Kovařík. Courtesy the artist and Mendes Wood DM, São Paolo, Brussels, New York City The title of Jenny Erpenbeck’s new novel, Kairos (New Directions, $25.95), refers…

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New Books

The novel form is capacious and elastic, in some instances deployed like a magnifying glass on a water droplet, and in others as a panoramic lens to encompass a vast…

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Time Is a Violent Stream

On losing a father and finding Stoicism

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