paper trail

The new Yale Review launches; Ashley Feinberg on the Times’s Democratic primary endorsement

Jeanine Cummins. Photo: Joe Kennedy

The new Yale Review, with Meghan O’Rourke as editor, has launched with a redesigned website. O’Rourke’s first issue features essays, stories, and poetry by authors such as Cathy Park Hong, Sheila Heti, Kevin Young, and Dan Chiasson. In her introductory note, O’Rourke writes, “Every issue, like every piece of good writing, is the product of a series of accidents colliding with intentions. This is an issue that constellates around stories. Collectively, these pieces are testimony to the necessity of imaginative literature as an act of critical interrogation of the world—or the selves—we inhabit.”

At Slate, Ashley Feinberg writes about the New York Times editorial board’s decision to endorse both Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Democratic primary. After teasing the announcement with meta-journalism about the decision-making process—including a whole hand-wringing episode of their TV show, The Weekly—the Times decided to split the difference between what the editors see as pragmatism and visionary change. Feinberg was not impressed: “As much as the rollout of the Very Special Episode has been about the Democratic primary, it has also very much been about the New York Times and The Role of the New York Times in the Democratic primary. And in this state of hyper-self-awareness and inflated ego, the Times has done what the Times does best: choke.”

The digital sports media company The Athletic has raised fifty-million dollars. The online publication says it will be profitable this year as it aims to hit one-million subscribers.

Jeanine Cummins’s novel American Dirt, about a mother and child fleeing Mexico for the US, is the latest Oprah’s Book Club pick. Earlier this week, writing in the Times, Parul Sehgal noted the high praise the book has already received—it’s garnered comparisons to The Grapes of Wrath. Sehgal offers a dissenting view: “The motives of the book may be unimpeachable, but novels must be judged on execution, not intention. This peculiar book flounders and fails.”

Tonight, McNally Jackson’s Seaport location is hosting an event for The Complete Gary Lutz featuring Lutz and Sam Lipsyte. In Bookforum’s Dec/Jan issue, Adam Wilson notes that “Lutz’s stories are resistant to summary, not because nothing happens in them, but because it can be difficult to decipher what does. For Lutz, narrative is a by-product of language, not the other way around.”