Category: Words

Ondaatje’s Long War

In a scathing review of The English Patient, Hilary Mantel called Michael Ondaatje’s most feted work “uneven, unresolved, unsatisfactory.” Her criticism has since become a regular complaint about the ...

The Polyphonic Gospel

At one point in Umberto Eco’s novel Foucault’s Pendulum the narrator speculates about how the Gospels came to be written: “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are a bunch of practical jokers who meet ...

Japan’s Isolation 2.0

The taxi driver who took me from Tokyo train station to my hotel had turned his cell phone sideways, like a television, and propped it up on the dashboard of his car. He was watching a historical ...

India’s Garbage Politics

Writing in 1993, after decades spent documenting America’s shifting landscapes, poet A. R. Ammons suggested that “garbage [ought] to be the poem of our time.” Inspired by “mounds of disposal” along a ...

Ireland’s Uneasy Monuments

“History,” writes Fergal Keane, “began with my father’s stories.” These were stories of Oliver Cromwell’s murders, of the dead of the Irish Famine, of wars of ...

The 2018 “Animal Studies” Contest!

Do you have a pet who loves to read? Send us their photo for a chance to win a McNally Jackson gift card and PB swag for you and your pet.   The Rules: Submit a photo of your literary animal by ...

Our Drones, Ourselves

Drones have changed modern warfare almost beyond recognition. In the 19th century, the military theorist Carl von Clausewitz likened war to “a duel on a larger scale,” but drones do away with ...