This week, in a story by Akhil Sharma that will leave you devastated, an Indian woman in an arranged marriage wakes one day to discover that she loves her husband. “If You Sing Like That for Me,” originally published in the Atlantic in 1995, is available this week at Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading in conjunction with the release of Sharma’s short story collection, A Life of Adventure and Delight, which collects this story and seven others that focus on the lives of Indian protagonists as they negotiate relationships and the difficulties of the human heart....more
Posts Tagged: the new yorker
At The California Sunday Magazine, Brooke Jarvis has a devastating piece about missing persons and family members lost over the border.
For VIDA, Jean Ho shares her discouraging experience at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
And here at The Rumpus, Chellis Ying writes about rock climbing in China, which turned out to be an opportunity for both thrills and connection....more
There are those who bemoan schools’ decisions to stop teaching cursive, and those who welcome the decision with keyboard in hand. John Oppenheimer, writing for the New Yorker, talks about writing to his daughters at summer camp using cursive, even though they have some trouble deciphering the script and his body isn’t so fond of handwriting:
By the time that I had covered two sides of a small piece of stationery, my letters tended to get sloppier, and my right hand was cramping.
Long before Curtis Sittenfeld was a New York Times bestselling author (Eligible), she was friends with Sam Park (This Burns My Heart). And they’re still friends: in an essay for the New Yorker, Sittenfeld chronicles their decades-long platonic romance, from early days collaborating on “50 Most Beautiful Sexiest Men Alive of the Year at Stanford” to dedicating their novels to each other to Park’s diagnosis of Stage III-C stomach cancer in 2014....more
At the New Yorker, an elegant and comprehensive essay by Julie Phillips from a visit with Ursula Le Guin at her home in Portland, Oregon touches on the importance of place, both geographic and imaginative. Phillips writes, “[Le Guin] has always defended the fantastic, by which she means not formulaic fantasy or “McMagic” but the imagination as a subversive force.” She quotes Le Guin: “Imagination, working at full strength, can shake us out of our fatal, adoring self-absorption and make us look up and see—with terror or with relief—that the world does not in fact belong to us at all.”...more
At the New Yorker, Alexandra Schwartz writes about the New York Public Library’s newly renovated Rose Main Reading Room, which was closed for two and half years for restorations. “The room is one of the city’s great public spaces, a shared chamber devoted to private mental endeavors, and it’s looking good,” Schwartz says....more
There’s been a lot of thoughtful criticism on porn, written by women, recently—notably, Katrina Forrester in the New Yorker and Natasha Lennard in The Nation. For Granta, Andrea Stuart choses a unique angle in her own piece on porn, writing a genre-bending essay that can best be described as a reported piece of first-person criticism....more
While the outing of Elena Ferrante and the robbing of Kim Kardashian were not inherently gendered acts, the responses to them certainly have been. In light of these two seemingly divergent issues, the New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino meditates on the framing of female ambition in the media, and what happens “when women signify too much”:
…the problem is not so much about what happens to women after they become established and successful.
For the New Yorker, Vinson Cunningham writes that whatever your thoughts on the Nate Parker controversy, the new film The Birth Of A Nation is best left unseen:
“Twelve Years” and, especially, “Django” promised to widen the expressive possibilities of the slave story—to add to the cultural meanings of the country’s gravest crime.
In a primal sense, racism involves favoring the people who are closest to you genetically. It is funny how most liberal left-wingers (well, me, at least) would never think of not hiring someone because he was of a different race or religion, but, at the same time, would try to get their child a bigger slice of birthday cake than the other kids or would lobby for extra attention from a teacher or a coach.
For the New Yorker, Hilton Als reaches across Edward Albee’s long career to take the pulse of the themes and concerns of the late, great playwright. Memory, attachment, cruelty, and Albee’s sense of himself as an outsider all informed the dramas....more
For the New Yorker, Peter Moskowitz talks to poet Tommy Pico about anger, juxtaposition, and inheritance:
He told me that he uses poetry to square two identities that don’t fit together well: being a poor, queer kid from the rez, and being a pleasure-seeking, technology-addicted New Yorker who would rather chase the boys he meets on apps than think about centuries of pain passed from one generation to another.
The Underground Railroad has always fascinated Americans, and recently it has exploded in popularity, with books, TV shows, and even representation on United States currency. But does the mythologized version of the Underground Railroad live up to actual history? In a recent New Yorker article, Kathryn Schulz examines recent media incarnations of the Railroad:
But, as more recent work has made clear, they should also incite our curiosity and skepticism: about how the Underground Railroad really worked, why stories about it so consistently work on us, and what they teach us—or spare us from learning—about ourselves and our nation.
Supposedly, the best way to master a foreign language is to fall in love with a native speaker. Language, in delineating a boundary that can be transgressed, is full of romantic potential. … If first languages are reservoirs of emotion, second languages can be rivers undammed, freeing their speakers to ride different currents.
Two recent novels, The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney and Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel, explore privilege and entitlement, and what happens when wealth disappears. It can be hard to feel sorry for trust fund kids when you live paycheck to paycheck, but:
From some distance, it’s a parable about the current age, in which an increasingly fraught vision of American prosperity abuts the realities of stagnation and loss.
If Basil Bunting were not remembered for “Briggflatts”—his longest and best poem, first published fifty years ago—he might still be remembered as the protagonist of a preposterously eventful twentieth-century life.
Poet Basil Bunting had an unconventional life full of interesting journeys and experiences....more
Irish author Danielle McLaughlin didn’t start writing fiction until 2010, but in the years since she has amassed an impressive collection of writing awards, including the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition, and has twice placed stories in the New Yorker....more
Our VW van had a Porsche engine, other modifications that made it good for tough Mexican roads.
Gorgeous photographs accompany Lucia Berlin’s own account, with an introduction by Cressida Leyshon, of her travels in Mexico, drugs, and family life. Memories are ordered as episodes, or “sketches,” and readers of her short stories will find great resonance between the forms....more
At the New Yorker, Richard Brody shares a eulogy for director Michael Cimino:
Cimino’s life work is a cinema of mourning, an art of grief, a nightmare of memory that finds its sole redemption in ecstasy—the heightened perception that transforms experience into a grand internal spectacle, which finds its own embodiment in Cimino’s own profound visual imagination.
Do you love this shit? Are you high right now? Do you ever get nervous? Quizzes are everywhere these days, from meandering author interviews to hard-hitting investigations to exactly which Disney princess corresponds to your introverted spirit animal. Read about the now-ubiquitous model’s Proustian origins over at the New Yorker....more
“Get more, that inner music seems to be telling him. Get, finally, enough. Refute a lifetime of critics. Create a pile of unprecedented testimonials, attendance receipts, polling numbers, and pundit gasps that will, once and for all, prove—what?”
George Saunders patrols the Trump campaign trail and notates the surreal political phenomena known as “The Donald.” Here is what he discovered....more