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The Oysters of Locmariaquer, published half a century ago, feels like a precursor to the work of Eula Biss and Leslie Jamison—minus the modern worry over the possible harm of such storytelling.
Our books, movies, and television shows are arguably bleaker than ever. What’s behind the encroaching, thickening darkness?
In Andrew O’Hagan’s The Illuminations, a woman struggles watching her mother enter the early stages of dementia. But can a different reality be a better place to live?
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The Canadian comedy fixture on punk rock, drunk dads, and adapting his life for stage and screen.
In David Shields and Caleb Powell’s I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel, a problem involving doors and goats shows what arguments are really about.
Fingerprints ca. 1859
Three mystery authors discuss crime television, the banality of murder, and the surprising niceness of crime writers.
The sibling filmmakers on letting a story grow organically, the challenges of representing depression on screen, and finding variances in a repetitive structure.
In Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, everything happens so much. What about those books where nothing happens, and it’s fine?
In an increasingly fragmented world, the debate around “Je Suis Charlie” reminds us there are reasons to avoid collectivity.
The acclaimed (and playfully salty) filmmaker on the evolution of style, shooting in digital, and the limits and joys of making period pieces.
The choice he had: between a life of boredom in a displaced persons camp or joining the armed struggle. A dispatch from among the Kachin Independence Army of northern Burma.
Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman wanted to write the definitive story of Anonymous. Her new book explains why that was an impossible goal.
Portrait by Julia Dickens
Lorrie Moore as the mother you never had.
The Vanity Fair of today embodies a certain sort of lavishness—an often unironic appreciation of and yearning for rich people things. It wasn’t always this way.
2014 felt like a long, cruel object lesson in disappointment. Should we really have expected better?
From Leslie Jamison to Roxane Gay to Charles D’Ambrosio, 2014 was a perhaps uncommonly good year for essays. How did we get here?
Harry Styles of One Direction
Anna Todd’s One Direction fanfic-turned-novel After lets readers indulge specific fantasies—not just through the fictionalized versions of celebrities, but through the author’s life as well.
Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kasuma, via Flickr
The author of 33 Artists in 3 Acts discusses whether being an artist means knowing how to do life drawing, art as a financial asset, and the rise of Lena Dunham.
David Foster Wallace’s big concerns live on in the interviews of Jaden and Willow Smith.
From "Leaves of Grass" by Geoffrey Farmer
The authors discuss the influence of visual art in their writing, working to rap music, and the hypnotic smell of oil paints.

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