The New Yorker January 4-11, 2021

Founded in 1925, The New Yorker publishes the best writers of its time and has received more National Magazine Awards than any other magazine, for its groundbreaking reporting, authoritative analysis, and creative inspiration. The New Yorker takes readers beyond the weekly print magazine with the web, mobile, tablet, social media, and signature events. The New Yorker is at once a classic and at the leading edge.

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Lawrence Wright (“The Plague Year,” p. 20) has been a staff writer at the magazine since 1992. He most recently published “The End of October.” Jorie Graham (Poem, p. 36) teaches at Harvard. Her latest collection of poems is “Runaway.” Jorge Colombo (Cover), an illustrator, a photographer, and a graphic designer, published “New York: Finger Paintings by Jorge Colombo.” Anna Wiener (A Critic at Large, p. 70) is a contributing writer for The New Yorker. Her début book is the memoir “Uncanny Valley.” Alejandro Chacoff (Books, p. 81), a staff writer at piauí magazine, is the author of the novel “Apátridas,” which was published in Brazil in 2020. Robyn Weintraub (Puzzles & Games Dept., p. 69) began constructing crossword puzzles in 2010. Her puzzles have appeared in the New York Times and the Los Angeles…

the mail

WHY FAULKNER ENDURES Casey Cep, in her review of Michael Gorra’s new book about William Faulkner, writes that “there is no defending Faulkner’s character, only his characters” (Books, November 30th). As with all things Faulkner, the interplay between personal life and fiction is complex. Take, for instance, Faulkner’s relationship with Caroline Barr, whom Cep identifies as the “family’s Black maid … to whom he dedicated his book ‘Go Down, Moses.’” Faulkner may have based the character of Dilsey, in his 1929 masterpiece, “The Sound and the Fury,” on Barr. The book’s final section is often called the “Dilsey chapter.” Almost two decades later, Faulkner added an appendix to the novel, providing more detailed biographies of many of its characters. As in the novel, Faulkner leaves the final words for Dilsey, saying,…

goings on about town: this week

DECEMBER 30, 2020 – JANUARY 12, 2021 Since 1907, the Times Square Ball (pictured) has dropped in New York City for all but two New Year’s Eves. (The exceptions were the wartime dimouts of 1942 and 1943.) On Dec. 31, the ball descends at midnight, as usual, but the party is virtual: the public isn’t invited to gather in Times Square this year. But there are still festivities—broadcast on TV and live-streamed via—including a performance by Gloria Gaynor, whose rousing disco anthem “I Will Survive” is the perfect song to ring in the New Year. MUSIC Dolores Diaz and the Standby Club: “Live at O’Leaver’s” COUNTRY In 2015, the audio engineer Corina Figueroa Escamilla was living in Omaha with her then husband—Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst—and a housemate, the singer-songwriter Miwi La Lupa. Oberst…

tables for two: ribs n reds

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live with a Michelin-starred chef, you might try ordering from the delivery pop-up Ribs n Reds, available most weekends in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. During the first few months of the pandemic, the chef Bryce Shuman, whose midtown restaurant, Betony, closed in 2016, found himself cooking at home, for his wife, Jennifer—the special-events director at the NoMad Hotel, who was on furlough—and their six-year-old daughter, Emilia, a lot more than usual. Before March, he’d been working as a consultant and a private chef. Family dinners were something of a rarity, and suddenly having time for them felt like a silver lining. But, Jennifer told me recently, “we did miss being in restaurants, and, doing what we do, we wondered, How could we…

comment: fault lines

Readers of “Through the Looking-Glass” may recall the plight of the Bread-and-Butterfly, which, as the Gnat explains to Alice, can live only on weak tea with cream in it. “Supposing it couldn’t find any?” Alice asks. “Then it would die, of course,” the Gnat answers. “That must happen very often,” Alice reflects. “It always happens,” the Gnat admits, dolefully. How the Bread-and-Butterfly survives, given the impossible demands of its diet, is a nice question. Lewis Carroll was in part teasing Darwinian ideas, which depend on a struggle for existence in which, eventually, we all lose—nonexistence being the norm of living things, over time. But the plight of the Bread-and-Butterfly comes to mind, too, when we contemplate what is called, not without reason, America’s crisis of democracy. It always happens. We are…

atlanta postcard: statues

On a recent gray morning, John Brown Gordon sat astride his horse outside Georgia’s capitol building. Gordon, a Confederate general, was Georgia’s governor in the eighteen-eighties. Today, tax dollars pay for the upkeep of his large bronze likeness. A temporary barricade stood between the century-old statue and Richard Rose, a seventy-two-year-old Black man in a suit. When Rose was younger, he would walk an extra block to avoid statues like Gordon’s. Now he raised his phone and took a photograph. Gordon was thought to be the leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia. “A particularly cruel person,” Rose said. “And that makes him the hero here.” Rose endeavored to learn more about problematic local landmarks in 2014, after being elected president of Atlanta’s N.A.A.C.P. chapter. “The more I walked around,…