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Social life and customs

We Were So Happy Then

Coming home in the mid-Nineties to the new South Africa—new laws, new rules, new hope—felt not much different from coming home to the old one. De facto integration had been…

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The Death of a Once Great City

As New York enters the third decade of the twenty-first century, it is in imminent danger of becoming something it has never been before: unremarkable. It is approaching a state…

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Cursed Fields

The Yamal Peninsula juts up from the northern edge of Russia like a thumb sticking out into the Kara Sea. A matrix of lakes and streams stretches across the barren…

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A Port In a Storm

The village of Portpatrick, on Scotland’s serrated western coast, doesn’t so much lie around its harbor as embrace it for dear life. On a map, the harbor resembles the head…

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Village People

By Terry Southern (1924–95), from an unpublished manuscript written in 1952. It is included in Making It Hot for Them, a collection of his writings edited by Nile Southern that…

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If These Walls Could Talk

According to one Norse myth, the gods needed a wall. Asgard, their kingdom, had once been surrounded by barricades, but a war had destroyed them. When the gods decided to…

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Sons and Daughters

Felicita Carrasco was born in a slatted wooden house in a village so small it doesn’t appear on maps of the Dominican Republic. Saladillo, with its single paved road, is…

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The Weekly Package

In Havana’s late afternoon, when the heat had risen to more than ninety degrees, Maykel Molina Gutiérrez got off the bus in the posh neighborhood of Vedado, walked to an…

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Shopping-Mall Time Machine

I started hearing it about two years ago, and then I seemed to hear it constantly: people in their late teens and early twenties complaining, quite sincerely, that they felt…

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June 2017