Why the UN?

Matthew Gould (Westminster) and Matthew D. Rablen (Brunel): Equitable Representation in the Councils of the United Nations: Theory and Application. The introduction to Democracy at the United Nations: UN Reform in the Age of Globalisation, ed. Giovanni Finizio and Ernesto Gallo. Christian Bueger (Cardiff): Making Things Known: Epistemic Infrastructures, the United Nations and the Translation of Piracy. Matthew Reynolds on how critics of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Palestine

Paper Trail

Our fall issue is out now, with Christian Lorentzen on Ben Lerner’s 10:04, Christopher Caldwell on Rick Perlstein’s The Invisible Bridge, Emily Gould on perfume nerds, and more. Amazon angers Japanese publishers. Clive Thompson on the benefits of taming “the tyranny of 24/7” email. At the New Yorker, an essay about Tillie Olsen focuses on her 1934


Weird Sex

Vanessa RovetoThere's good sex and there's bad sex. And then there's weird sex—a Freudian purgatory that somehow neither stimulates the libido nor inhibits it. In art and life, we're inclined to seek out pleasure

Daily Review

The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

“HE WORE A PURPLE PLAID SUIT his staff abhorred and a pinstripe shirt and polka-dot tie and a folded white silk puffing up extravagantly out of his pocket.” This was not some tea-sipping Edwardian dandy. It was Ronald Reagan announcing his presidential candidacy at


Yelena Akhtiorskaya

Most extraordinary about Yelena Akhtiorskaya's first novel, Panic in a Suitcase, is the language, which can dive in and out of the consciousness of multiple characters in the space of a sentence. Akhtiorskaya writes about Russian immigrants who fail to fully embrace their new country. Often, they dream about returning, or at least about taking a vacation.


Whatever Happened to St. Petersburg?

Greg Afinogenov

Catriona Kelly’s Petersburg: Shadows of the Past takes the city’s marginal and offbeat local culture not as a fall from grace but as an opportunity. Despite its foreboding subtitle, the book ventures into this least heroic period of the city’s life—from 1945 to the present—with the briskness of a government inspector.