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On, Wisconsin

March’s civic strife in Wisconsin, with citizens and workers in the hundred-thousands protesting anti-union legislation passed by the Republican-dominated state government, suggests that, at long last, the spirit of rebellion may be migrating even to our politically somnolent shores.

A Mother’s Days

Housework is a total bore, and the only thing that has kept me going these past few years is my studies. Many of my friends are in analysis; I’m in linguistics.

An Alaskan Folk Tale Retold

You woke up in a sweat again. There’s an empty bottle of Advil PM on the nightstand. They’ve stopped working. You’ve switched to sleeping pills. You know you’re barely holding it together.

Suicide by the Bathtub Light

My shrink says that she understands where I’m coming from because she reads the New Yorker. I tell her the New Yorker says nothing about my life. She says okay, then tell me about your life. I tell her that I’m choking on fear.

A New Deal Flop

C. J. Maloney’s debut book, Back To The Land: Arthurdale, FDR’s New Deal, and the Costs of Economic Planning, is a compelling history of one of the government’s most radical, if largely forgotten, domestic programs.

When Classes Confront Each Other

The Great Recession officially started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. It was the gravest financial crisis the nation has faced since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It fostered what many call the “New Normal,” the unspoken sense that America is stuck, if not in decline.

All the Gorey Details

Edward Gorey was the kind of person tailor-made for legend-making. Lanky, tall, sporting short-cropped hair and a giant Tolstoy-esque beard, he often wandered about wrapped in a full-length fur coat with a pair of dirty Keds on his feet.

Letters to Posterity

“I go by books, not by authors,” Nabokov averred. But there’s something important to be said for Milan Kundera. If he had asked for permission, it may never have been granted.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2011

All Issues