Memoir & Essay

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Why Is Mario Vargas Llosa Complaining?

Why Is Mario Vargas Llosa Complaining?

WHAT MOVED a novelist of the stature of Mario Vargas Llosa — in a work of nonfiction — to unburden himself of a long list of complaints? Was it the emergence of Julian Assange, or that particular...

Long Lasting Shadows

Long Lasting Shadows

MANY FELT that the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 heralded the end of a “barbaric” 20th century, dominated by two totalitarian systems, Nazism and Communism. Hope for a more humane future t...

Survival Tactics

Survival Tactics

UNTIL AGE 10, the only place Andy Robinson could find release from a “constant, constricting tension” was at the movies. There he spent hours and hours sitting in the dark in front of the huge fli...

Mansion of the Spirit

Mansion of the Spirit

SANDRA CISNEROS is best known for the coming-of-age novel The House on Mango Street, about Esperanza, a Mexican-American girl who turns to writing for solace from her chaotic Chicago family life. Wit...

My Life as a Woman

My Life as a Woman

IT STARTED with a fundamental lie. Born a man named William, I became Leigh Anne Williams, a woman who published 20 romance novels. Why hide the truth now? It was Another Life, back in the 1980s, a t...

The Phone Is a Public Space

The Phone Is a Public Space

FOR TWO WEEKS in the spring of 2015, I distributed across the internet a phone number where I could be reached by anyone. It was the number to an old flip phone with a zero-megapixel camera — a seco...

Letter from Paris

Letter from Paris

EVEN THOUGH WE LIVE only a couple metro stops away from where the first set of shootings happened, we learned about the terrorist attacks on Paris through social media; a friend in California messaged...

Memory Problems

Memory Problems

CHILDHOOD AMNESIA is the name scientists give the period of life before we acquire the capacity for autobiographical memory. This formative forgetting is constant across time and culture. Unlike other...

Facing the Music

Facing the Music

MEMOIRS BY MUSICIANS you’ve loved feel like unnecessary souvenirs. The musicians have already given you life-changing songs; seen live, they’ve given you moments of transcendence. What more would ...

A Curious George

A Curious George

WHEN THE CHANGE occurred in George Carlin, it occurred suddenly. To viewers at home, it seemed that one day he was on the talk shows all clean-shaven and besuited; the next, he was hirsute in a T-shir...

Portrait of a Coterie

Portrait of a Coterie

FELIX BERNSTEIN’S debut essay collection, Notes on Post-Conceptual Poetry, is not what you would expect from a 23-year-old, Brooklyn-based writer and artist. This is not a book of cosmopolitan post-...

Brautigan Will Be Brautigan

Brautigan Will Be Brautigan

WHAT IF YOU set out to follow in the footsteps of a literary hero from your youth and discovered things in his work that you had never noticed before, things that were not only unappealing but also mo...