The events of the past few years have created a glaring divide between Russia and the West. How and why did this happen? In the West, the story of how relations with Russia descended to their current abysmal level is often told as one of an ominous drift, under Putin, back toward a Soviet-style showdown between Moscow and its former adversaries—prompting many to conclude that the two sides found themselves waging a ‘New Cold War’. From this perspective, the clashes of the 2000s, especially the
The Billy Lee Myth begins with a fact: he was once one of the most engaging young novelists in the country, greeted by some critics as the second coming of F. Scott Fitzgerald. “Brammer’s is a new and major talent, big in scope, big in its promise of even better things to come,” wrote A. C. Spectorsky, a former staffer at the New Yorker. “[His work] has impressive sweep . . . it makes many of today’s novels seem small, contrived, even mean.” Brammer earned the $2,400 Houghton Mifflin Fellowship
You’re shivering and sweating at the same time on the bench. Time’s flying; you’ll have to pick up your children soon, but you don’t want to make a fuss yet. As if for your entertainment, the most beautiful and elegant of trial presentations begins in front of two shelves full of books, CDs, and DVDs. A young woman lifts yellow crates from one pallet onto another empty one beside it. She doesn’t bend her back as she does it, holding herself as straight as a rod; she performs all her work calmly,
Sep 17 2018


Jessica Hopper

Saturday was the Hold Steady video. It is a good thing not all one hundred people showed up because we had room for about thirty-three total. People later said they did not show because filming video is waiting around for twenty hours to act fake-excited in one-minute spurts. Which might be true when you are on the set of Sum 41’s “Spooge Patrol” shoot, but this is the Hold Steady; they are a punk band on a punk budge, no time to spare. I got paid with a latte and a vegan muffin. It was like a
The one activity that was perhaps the most stable part of my identity that first semester was the seminar I was taking with Ehsaan Ali. His class Colonial Encounters was held on Friday afternoons. The seminar participants required his special permission to join. I had heard that he brought red wine each week to his classes and you sat around discussing the day’s readings while sipping wine from small plastic cups. When the semester began, I went to Ehsaan’s office in Philosophy Hall to get his
Below is an excerpt from Leslie Kaplan's 1982 fiction of the French factory revolts. For more on the book, recently released in an English edition (translated by Julie Carr and Jennifer Pap), see Jason E. Smith's review in our special summer issue, 1968 Now. You go to a factory that makes headlights. It’s in a neighborhood just outside the center, a little street. At last you’ve arrived. The factory is there. You see it, it’s in the courtyard, a cadaver without weight. It’s there, it doesn’t
“Only art works are capable of transmitting chthonic echo-signals,” writes Susan Howe in the foreword to her new collection, Debths, inspired in part by the Whitney’s 2011 retrospective of American artist Paul Thek. I have always been interested in folktales, magic, lost languages, riddles, coincidence, and missed connections. What struck me most was the way [Thek’s] later works, often painted swatches of color spread across sheets of newspaper with single words, phrases, or letters
Last month, the Feminist Press at CUNY and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop published Go Home!, an anthology of Asian diasporic writers exploring belonging, identity, family, place, and the myriad other topics that come into play when considering the notion of “home.” We invited the AAWW’s Ken Chen and the Feminist Press’s Jisu Kim to discuss the book with its editor, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, and contributors Amitava Kumar, Alexander Chee, and Wo Chan. The following is an edited transcript of
“The minds of the immortals rarely change,” old King Nestor tells Telemachus in Book III of The Odyssey. That may be true, but the ways that we experience and imagine those gods change regularly. Since the sixteenth century, dozens of English-language translators have traversed the epics of archaic Hellas, and all of them have returned with their own unique account: Blank verse, couplets, and prose are all available portals into Homer. But few have internalized the old cliche, “Translation is
Overseas, Jenny Erpenbeck’s latest novel has carried her to fresh levels of acclaim. She’s won not only the Thomas Mann Prize, in her native Germany, but also Italy’s Strega Europeo, something of a Booker for the Continent. Now the book is out in this country, under the title Go, Went, Gone, and though Erpenbeck’s four previous have won critical esteem—the New York Review of Books deemed her last novel “ferocious as well as virtuosic”—here, too, the new work could well generate broader recognition.