Jessica Joffe

  • The Marriage Plod

    When Nell Freudenberger debuted in the pages of the New Yorker in the summer of 2001, the New York literary community responded less to the short story she’d managed to write so much more adeptly than her “Début Fiction” comrades of that year than to the accompanying author photograph, a simple but misguided portrait of a twenty-six-year-old girl staring doe-eyed up at a camera from a curiously vast and purple bed. The reaction was summed up in Curtis Sittenfeld’s 2003 essay for Salon, which offered the riveting thesis that she was simply “too young, too pretty, too successful” and took nearly

  • Eine Berlinerin

    Book of Clouds arrives coated in the sort of effusive blurbs conspicuous only when absent from a first novel’s jacket these days. It takes place in twenty-first-century Berlin, a city many have tried to capture with words, brushstrokes, and various shutter speeds, but one ignored by many of its residents in favor of their own misguided hopes and dreams. There the book follows Tatiana, the alter ego of the author, Chloe Aridjis, as she floats through life aimlessly, with a taste for ennui and slipshod metaphor. Very little happens to Tatiana/Chloe, whose defining characteristics are that she is

  • Dose Encounters

    When, on February 6, New York’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner finally announced that “Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine . . . [and] that the manner of death is an accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medi­cations,” the world breathed a collective sigh of relief. Not only the actor’s family and close friends but the public, too, who, despite gobbling up an endless supply of salacious details surrounding the death, had hoped for an explanation that would be


    I honestly believe that 1/2 the people who

    read about the Mitfords are motivated to do

    so by a kind of fierce jealousy which drives

    them where they do not want to go.

    —Diana Mitford to Deborah Mitford,

    May 13, 1985

    Several years ago, Charlotte Mosley found herself at lunch with her mother-in-law, Diana Mosley (née Mitford). Grumbling about the latest request by an outsider to illuminate yet another aspect of Mitford life, Diana looked at her youngest son, Max, and her daughter-in-law and said: “Why don’t one of