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Timeless stories from our 170-year archive handpicked to speak to the news of the day.
Does the social novel have a future?
Nicole Krauss and her precursors
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…
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…
Who owns black pain?
The afterlives of Lenin
John Ashbery’s well-spent youth
Islam’s forgotten reformation
Can neuroscience finally explain consciousness?
Mary McCarthy’s sexual revolution
Mohsin Hamid’s displaced persons
The problem with writing manuals
Elif Batuman takes on the M.F.A.
Paul Auster’s multitudes
The allure of animal nature
Zadie Smith and the limits of being oneself
The inventions of Javier Marías
The rise and fall of the Romanovs
Why TV Got Good
The Saga of Halldór Laxness
The inscrutable sincerity of Nell Zink
Thomas De Quincey’s bad habits
Jonathan Safran Foer’s authorial intrusions
The meaning of the game
Thirty-six ways of looking at the aphorism
The rise of Trump
The return of the Brat Pack
In 1996, the Libyan writer Hisham Matar was living near the National Gallery in London. For six years straight he had been going to the museum, sometimes as often as…
Sybille Bedford’s prudent hedonism
Seamus Heaney’s journey to the underworld