Reviews | Harper's Magazine - Part 7

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Reviews

The Lives of Others

Does the social novel have a future?

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The Escape Artist

Nicole Krauss and her precursors

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New Books

We are ushered into a feminine world on page 1 of David Plante’s DIFFICULT WOMEN (New York Review Books, $16.95), when the author meets Jean Rhys in a South Kensington…

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Liberation Struggle

Discussed in this essay: Chester B. Himes: A Biography, by Lawrence P. Jackson. W. W. Norton. 640 pages. $35. Early in Chester Himes’s first and best-known novel, If He Hollers…

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New Books

I write this month from my parents’ home in New Jersey, to which I have escaped, with my baby son, from the jackhammers tearing down the parapets of our apartment…

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New Books

In Marie ­NDiaye’s novel MY HEART HEMMED IN (Two Lines Press, $14.95), Nadia and Ange, a middle-aged couple from Bordeaux, become outcasts. “What sort of wickedness, I ask myself, are they suddenly…

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Tomb Raiders

The afterlives of Lenin

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It Wants to Go to Bed with Us

John Ashbery’s well-spent youth

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New Books

If you were losing your mind, how would you know? What if instead it were the world that was losing its mind — flouting the usual statutes re: time and…

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Unseen Worlds

Islam’s forgotten reformation

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Head-Scratcher

Can neuroscience finally explain consciousness?

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New Books

Maurice Sendak once said that the subject of all his work was the “extraordinary heroism of children in the face of . . . a mostly indifferent adult world.” Nowhere…

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Door to Door

Mohsin Hamid’s displaced persons

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New Books

An acquaintance once asked Mary Gaitskill and her then husband about their house, which sat at the edge of a college campus, surrounded by woods. I said it was nice…

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Behind the Fig Leaf

Mary McCarthy’s sexual revolution

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New Books

Conversion tales are perennially popular, but there is less of an audience for stories about what comes after — the daily struggle to live out your faith when the first…

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Good Plain English

The problem with writing manuals

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No Fool

Elif Batuman takes on the M.F.A.

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New Books

George Saunders is the most humane American writer working today. He need not ask, as Sheila Heti did in the title of her novel, how a person should be. He…

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Life Choices

Paul Auster’s multitudes

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New Books

Until the U.S. government got wind of it, the sharpest critic of the Mormon practice of polygamy was Joseph Smith’s legal wife, Emma. But as Laurel Thatcher Ulrich explains in…

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Wild Things

The allure of animal nature

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In The Shade

Zadie Smith and the limits of being oneself

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New Books

“I understand the large hearts of heroes,” wrote an ecstatic Walt Whitman in “Song of Myself”: The courage of present times and all times, How the skipper saw the crowded…

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Likely Story

The inventions of Javier Marías

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Destruction Myth

The rise and fall of the Romanovs

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New Books

Hell hath no fury like a Hitchcock scorned. After the fat man with the famous profile signed Tippi Hedren to a seven-year contract and put her through what was then…

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