If literature is the news that stays news, then it’s always a good time to revist Elif Batuman’s first book, The Possessed, about the people obsessed with Russia’s great authors. In this selection, Batuman gets a travel grant as a college student to investigate whether Leo Tolstoy was murdered. She examines his life for clues. She looks at his books and estate. She spends four days wearing sweatpants and flip-flops after her luggage got lost en route to the International Tolstoy Conference in Russia.
In Typing Practice, an excerpt from her book, Living with a Wild God, Barbara Ehrenreich looks back to keeping a notebook to make sense of growing up female in a dysfunctional family. The lessons she learned offer some hope for these trying times: “But there is another possible response to the unknown and potentially menacing, and that is thinking.”
On June 24, 1972, three boys decided to leave their residential school in Canada’s Northwest Territories and walk from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk (“Tuk”) in a bid to avoid punishment for stealing a pack of cigarettes from their dorm supervisor. Without a highway connecting Inuvik to Tuk, the boys had no idea they were undertaking an impossible journey of 90 miles over boggy tundra. At Granta, Nadim Roberts tells the story of Dennis, Jack, and Bernard, and of the horrific toll residential schools have exacted on Inuits, the Inuit community, and their traditional ways of life.
A personal essay in which A.M. Homes — who ten years ago published The Mistress’s Daughter, a memoir about meeting her birth parents — reports on the experience of recently being given her long lost adoption file, and the effects of the information on her understanding of her origins.
Excluded from Myanmar citizenship, the Rohingya, an ethnic minority, are the largest stateless group in the world, so they pay smugglers to get them to Malaysia in inhumane conditions.
In Nigeria, Boko Haram left millions of “internally displaced persons,” called IDPs, living in makeshift camps, trying to keep their children from starving while relief food gets pirated and sold off in local markets. A journalist snuck into one camp without authorization to get the real story of life on the ground there.
Barbara Zitwer, Colm Tóibín, Elham Manea, Linda Coverdale, Kyung-sook Shin, and Anne Landsman share their stories of immigration to protest Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban as an abomination in a country built and fuelled by people from away.
When a Danish social activist gets fined for driving and feeding a few Syrian refugees, she questions the climate of fear that’s arisen in her native Denmark, and what she sees as a fundamental change in the her culture’s values: the desire to help other human beings.
One sex-positive woman’s exploration of Feminist porn reveals a lot about the complexity of feminist thinking, mainstream porn’s intrinsic violence and sexism, and the enduring hope of remaking sex work.