Arts & Entertainment

The Prison Abolitionists

New York Review of Books

Sponsored by Duke University Press

Our November 3 issue is online now, with Sigrid Nunez on Nobel laureate Annie Ernaux, Bill Keller on prison abolition, Giles Harvey on Ian McEwan, Brenda Wineapple on the nineteenth-century radical Lydia Maria Child, John Banville on Rilke’s metamorphoses, Kathryn Hughes on precognition, James Gleick on Buckminster Fuller’s flimflam, Robyn Creswell on the Arabian Nights, Jed S. Rakoff on Felix Frankfurter’s judicial restraint, poems by Daria Serenko and Jane Hirshfield, and much more.

Bill Keller
Reform or Abolish?

American prisons are often unjust, inhumane, and ineffective at protecting public safety. Mariame Kaba and Ruth Wilson Gilmore believe they should be eliminated entirely.

James Gleick
Space-Age Magus

From beginning to end, experts saw through Buckminster Fuller’s ideas and theories. Why did so many people come under his spell?

Brenda Wineapple
Living in Words

A new biography explores the life and work of the influential abolitionist Lydia Maria Child, who wrote prodigiously about the social, political, and cultural issues of her time.

More to read at

J. Hoberman
Fuzz! Junk! Rumble!

A show at the Jewish Museum surveys three eventful years of art, film, and performance in New York City—and the political upheavals that defined them.

Free from the Archives

Today is Paul Simon’s eighty-first birthday. Exactly four years ago, on the day Simon made his final appearance on Saturday Night Live and shortly before he concluded his farewell concert tour in Flushing, Queens, Daniel Drake wrote for the Review a paean to the singer-songwriter’s eclectic taste and adventurous musicianship across a decades-long career. This appreciation is threaded through with a consideration of the curdling of 1960s idealism in 2018. “Who,” Drake asks, paraphrasing a Simon lyric, “has lived so well so long?”

Daniel Drake
Paul Simon: Fathers, Sons, Troubled Water

It was in the early morning hours when I fell into a phone call
Believing I had supernatural powers I slammed into a brick wall.

“How better to describe a cavalierly self-destructive phone call? Simon evoked the fragility of aging and losing with an astonishing wordiness that could somehow transform a syllabic pileup into a long exhale.”

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