Essays

Ending the Anthropocene

One might think that the patent anthropocentrism of the concept of “Anthropocene” would suffice to invite a clear opposition, and, yet ...

Back to the Women’s Land

How do women gain power in a society economically and politically dominated by men? This question vexed mid-20th-century second-wave feminists. At issue was whether women should occupy male spaces or ...

The End?

The apocalypse—for all the questions of when and where and why and how surrounding it—will actually be a rather straightforward affair. At some point in time, after a particularly grueling winter ...

A City Plans for War

What if war was waged not with bombs but with blueprints? Urban planning’s promise of an improved city of the future is especially bright in postconflict cities, where planning is expected to bring ...

Our Drugs, Ourselves

Is the term “drugs” still meaningful? Many of us would confess to being at least mildly dependent on some substance, be it single-origin coffee or Sancerre, antidepressants or anti-inflammatories ...

Michelle Obama’s Embrace

I told Michelle Obama that I admired Becoming for its courage, honesty, risk taking, and optimism. But my admiration went further, because in her story I had seen myself, and not just in the book’s main character ...

Knausgaard’s Ruthless Freedom

So here it is at last: the end of Knausgaard’s struggle. It is 1,160 pages long, divided into three parts. Part 2 consists of a long essay on Hitler. Both ...

Our Mothers, Ourselves

I intended to begin with a personal admission. “I didn’t like being pregnant,” I was going to write, before describing the bodily discomforts (hypersalivation!) and psychic stresses (due date during ...

Who Is Sick and Who Is Well?

I might be tempted to describe Terese Mailhot’s new memoir, Heart Berries, as “raw,” had she not warned against it. “The danger politically or artistically is that ...