The New Yorker September 27, 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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Alex Ross (“Vanishing Act,” p. 60) has been the magazine’s music critic since 1996. His books include “The Rest Is Noise” and “Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music.” Esther Freud (Fiction, p. 72) recently published a new novel, “I Couldn’t Love You More.” Dhruv Khullar (“The Damage Done,” p. 37), a contributing writer at The New Yorker, is a practicing physician and an assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. Hala Alyan (Poem, p. 67), a clinical psychologist, is the author of four poetry collections and two novels. Her latest book is “The Arsonists’ City.” Patrick Berry (Puzzles & Games Dept.) has been constructing puzzles since 1993. He lives in Athens, Georgia. Malika Favre (Cover) is an illustrator based in London and Barcelona. She contributed her first cover to the magazine in…

the mail

WHO WAS LAFAYETTE? Adam Gopnik, in his essay about the legacy of the Marquis de Lafayette, points out that Americans rarely understand why Lafayette does not enjoy the exalted reputation in France that he does in America (Books, August 23rd). As Gopnik mentions, supporters of the French Revolution blamed Lafayette for not preventing the royal family’s flight from France, in June, 1791. He was responsible, as the commander of the Paris militia, for security at the palace. When the King’s disappearance became known, Lafayette colluded in saying that he had been kidnapped, an explanation that quickly fell apart when the King’s denunciation of the Revolution was published. Soon afterward, protesters gathered to rally behind a petition objecting to the restoration of the King to the throne, and the National Guard was…

goings on about town: this week

SEPTEMBER 22 – 28, 2021 When Charles M. Blow (left) was working on his memoir, “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” he immersed himself in songs from his North Louisiana childhood—hill-country blues, gospel, folk—and they became, he says, “a soundtrack for the writing.” It wasn’t strange, then, to hear that Terence Blanchard set Blow’s story to music. “If you were interpreting that today, what would it sound like?” Blow says. “That is what Terence did.” The adaptation, starring Will Liverman (right), opens the Metropolitan Opera’s fall season, on Sept. 27. ART Ellsworth Ausby In 1972, this Afrofuturist abstract painter—who died in Brooklyn in 2011—wrote of his desire to “mirror the dynamo of our antecedent heritage despite the temerarious and presumptuous canons of the established art world.” Those poetic words introduce the artist’s current show,…

tables for two: cheli

In China, Jiangnan, a region south of the Yangtze River, is known as the Land of Fish and Rice, and for good reason. The coastal plains—which encompass the modern capital of Shanghai and the ancient cities of Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Shaoxing—abound with fertile soil irrigated by rivers and streams teeming with life. So irresistible is the splendor of Jiangnan’s natural bounty that Emperor Qianlong, of the Qing dynasty, sojourned there six times, wherein his hosts vied to dazzle him with sumptuous feasts that tested the ingenuity and the mastery of local chefs. According to popular lore, a surprising number of Jiangnan dishes were born of the Emperor’s storied southern tours. Inside CheLi, a new Jiangnan restaurant in the East Village—whose name is a pun on “here” and “within Zhejiang” (a province…

comment: a necessary right

One of the more dubious assumptions undergirding the latest assault on reproductive rights in this country is the idea that abortion is a kind of niche procedure for which there isn’t much need, and for which there will be even less need in some unspecified future. Defending the new Texas law that bans abortion after about six weeks, making no exception for pregnancies that are the result of rape, Governor Greg Abbott explained that this restriction won’t be a problem, because he plans to “eliminate rape” in the state. In the next few months, the Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of a Mississippi law that bars most abortions after fifteen weeks. That case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is widely viewed as an opportunity for the Justices, if…

prehistory dept.: baby soprano

There are arguably few routes less glamorous than that which snakes westward from the Lincoln Tunnel to the New Jersey Turnpike and on to Newark. (Carbon-monoxide vibes!) Unless you’re a fan of “The Sopranos,” in which case that gray path takes on a mythic quality. “We should be playing the song,” the actor Alessandro Nivola said on a recent morning, as his car sped past the industrial chimneys of North Jersey, just as Tony Soprano’s does in the opening credits of the show. Nivola began to sing the first bars of the theme—a morning, a gun—unshowily but with conviction. Nivola, who is forty-nine, was wearing jeans and a gray button-down, and a heavy silver I.D. bracelet. Next month, he will star in the movie “The Many Saints of Newark,” a “Sopranos”…