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Omnivore

Governance in Africa

Julia Leininger (GDI): A Strong Norm for Democratic Governance in Africa. Drew Hinshaw and Patrick McGroarty on the return of Africa’s strongmen: Despite two decades of elections and growth, democracy has stalled, militaries are resurgent, and autocrats are in control. Omar Garcia-Ponce (NYU) and Benjamin Pasquale (USC): How Political Repression Shapes Attitudes Toward the State. Alfreda Nwosu (Hood): The Product of a Failed State: Boko Haram, on the Verge of Transnationalization? The art of


Paper Trail

The diary of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Guantanamo Bay prisoner charged with being a top level Al Qaeda recruiter, was just published (in heavily redacted form) after a seven-year legal fight. The Times recounts that one of the redacted passages is Slahi writing “I couldn’t help breaking in [redacted].” As the book’s editor explains, “It

Syllabi

Andre Dubus's best characters

Bibi DeitzAndre Dubus's literary superpower is to hit upon that one thing about a character that makes him him, or her her. And in so doing, with subtle, clever details—breadcrumbs on the trail to the nucleus

Daily Review

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice”

“Paranoids are not paranoid because they’re paranoid,” Thomas Pynchon wrote in Gravity’s Rainbow, “but because they keep putting themselves, fucking idiots, deliberately into paranoid situations.” This line could easily slot into a eulogy for Larry “Doc” Sportello, the “gumsandal” hippie private eye at the heart of Inherent Vice, Pynchon’s seventh novel, recently adapted for the

Interviews

Miranda July

In Miranda July's films and short stories, the protagonist is usually shut off from the world: insular, habit-prone, and to the outside world, a little weird, The beauty of Cheryl Glickman, the narrator of July's debut novel, The First Bad Man, is that she's come to see her idiosyncrasies as totally logical, After reading several pages of Cheryl's chatty internal monologue, the reader will, too.

Appreciation

On Cortázar

Becca Rothfeld

Reading Hopscotch—reading Julio Cortázar—is a bit like navigating a labyrinth. Behind each corner, each chapter doubling back on itself, lurks the prospect of an unforeseen encounter, at once disturbing and tantalizing. Distances are distorted. Ostensible shortcuts will lead you on a scenic route that provides alternate, unexpected perspectives. All the while, Cortázar’s work invokes a sort of Zeno’s Paradox.

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