Alexander Chee 

1. Sometimes music is needed.

2. Sometimes silence.

3. A novel, like all written things, is a piece of music, the language demanding you make a sound as you read it.

Gregory Pardlo

For generations, or so I’ve heard, Brooklyn families have shrugged off the city swelter, crowding I-87 North en route to the Catskills for summer weekends. In July 2016, partly in search of traditions that might bind our family to a community, Ginger and I joined the exodus.

Afterword to a new edition of French Lessons

Alice Kaplan

After three decades, the adventure of a young Midwesterner learning French, entering with passion into centuries of borrowed habits and rituals, seems like ancient history–so radically has the place of French in the world changed, along with the place of France.

Yunte Huang

On the last day of summer in 2015, after giving a lecture in Knoxville, Tennessee, I rented a car and drove across the state line, over the Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge, to visit the picturesque town of Mount Airy, North Carolina, better known nowadays as Mayberry, USA.

(Ruminations on Doctor Zhivago)

Jane Costlow

What does Russia–or Russian literature–have to say to Americans concerned with the environment and sustainability, with how small corners of earth like a single farm might thrive, and what role they might play in seeding hope within our larger communities?

(The Truth of Chelsea Manning)

Lida Maxwell

As the inauguration of Donald Trump loomed in January 2017, President Barack Obama made the decision, against the advice of his defense secretary, Ashton Carter, to commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence.

Seth Lerer

“I wouldn’t want to get those shoes wet.”

            The aquarium assistant, a girl of maybe twenty-five with red hair, crooked the hose under her arm, stopping the water with a bend.

            “Those are such nice shoes. Tell your dad,”

Giulio J. Pertile

It might seem counterintuitive to speak of John Ashbery, the principal figure in the New York School of poets, as a pastoral poet. Ashbery’s verse has always dwelt on the heady distraction of metropolitan living, its haphazard and abstract qualities tuned most closely to the …

Rachel Kushner

When I heard that the HMS Bounty had sunk, I thought my favorite lounge and restaurant was underwater. No, someone said, the HMS Bounty  sank–the actual ship. But wasn’t it burned by the mutineers?

Marie Borroff

The cover illustration of Scientific American for February 1970 displays, greatly enlarged, a section of an electronic circuit manufactured by “LSI” or “Large-Scale Integration” technology.