Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Carousel of Grief

Our April 20 issue—the London Book Fair Issue—is online now, with Cathleen Schine on Maxine Hong Kingston’s talking-stories, Jameel Jaffer on the “ethical train wreck” at the Office of Legal Counsel, Rumaan Alam on Namwali Serpell, Geoffrey O’Brien remembers Joe Brainard, Michelle Nijhuis on swamps and bogs, E. Tammy Kim on the legend of Harry Bridges, John Banville on John le Carré, Mark O’Connell on the world without us, Manisha Sinha on antebellum Black citizens, Matthew Desmond on handouts for the rich, poems by Homer and Isabel Galleymore, and much more.

Rumaan Alam
A Formative Loss

In her novel The Furrows, Namwali Serpell’s pyrotechnics convey the madness, repetition, disruption, and shock of grief.

Michelle Nijhuis
Refill the Swamp!

Two recent books show that the concept of ecological restoration is a fuzzy one: even practitioners rarely agree on what is being restored, or to what end.

Robert Kuttner
300 Years of ‘Too Big to Jail’

In Impunity and Capitalism, Trevor Jackson shows how, between about 1690 and 1830, financial crises stopped being crimes and were treated as everyone’s fault and no one’s.

Geoffrey O’Brien
Joe Brainard’s Communal Intimacy

While Brainard’s recurring subject was himself, he somehow kept himself at a distance, an object in a world of other bodies.

More to read at NYR Online

Gabriel Winslow-Yost
Love’s Body Count

In HBO’s The Last of Us, violence never implicates the viewer as it did the player.

Odysseus Saved from the Sea

a poem by
Homer, from a forthcoming translation of the Odyssey by Daniel Mendelsohn

And then he drifted about—two nights,
two days driven
By the surging waves, and his heart looked
destruction straight in the face.
But when Dawn with her lovely braids
brought the third day into the world
The wind died down and a calm,
clear and still, descended

Free from the Archives

On December 15, 2012, one day after a shooter murdered twenty first-graders and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Garry Wills wrote a condemnation of the reverence shown to guns in the United States, a madness that he likened to the Old Testament worship of Moloch.

Garry Wills
Our Moloch

We guarantee that crazed man after crazed man will have a flood of killing power readily supplied him. We have to make that offering, out of devotion to our Moloch, our god. The gun is our Moloch. We sacrifice children to him daily.


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