Table of contents for April 22-29, 2024 in The New Yorker (2024)

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The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024ContributorsGideon Lewis-Kraus (“Flight of Fancy,” p. 28) is a staff writer and the author of the memoir “A Sense of Direction.”Joyce Carol Oates (Fiction, p. 52), a professor emerita at Princeton University, received the 2020 Prix Mondial Cino Del Duca. Her latest book is “Joyce Carol Oates: Letters to a Biographer.”Dhruv Khullar (“No Time to Die,” p. 16), a physician at Weill Cornell Medicine, is a contributing writer who covers medicine, health care, and politics.Catherine Barnett (Poem, p. 34) is the author of four collections of poems, including “Human Hours” and “Solutions for the Problem of Bodies in Space,” due out this spring.Jackson Arn (The Art World, p. 74) is The New Yorker’s art critic. Previously, he wrote for Art in America and The Drift, among other publications.Roz Chast (Sketchbook,…2 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Tables for Two: CorimaBefore opening Corima, in a moody, rustic space on the bottom edge of the Lower East Side, the chef Fidel Caballero cooked at some of the city’s most enjoyably weird and cerebral restaurants, including a residency at Rhodora and a tenure at (R.I.P., sigh) Contra, the thimble-size, Michelin-starred downtown tasting-menu restaurant. Caballero grew up between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, just over the border. He builds his menu on a foundation of northern Mexican ingredients—green chilis, flour tortillas, plenty of cheese—but pulls in various other elements: a bit of France, a bit of China, a whole heck of a lot of Japan. Even the tortillas get a cheffy spin. They are made with butter and a bit of sourdough starter, for flavor, and are cooked over the back of…2 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Dept. of Inspiration: Here Today“I’ve never been a lie-around-on-the-kind of guy,” Ian Adelman beach said recently. As a boy in Maine, he and his father would make drip castles in the sand. “As I got older, and beach trips became more about people lying around—that was not me,” he recalled. His sandcastle habit grew. During the pandemic summer of 2020, as he and his family isolated at their beach house, in Water Mill, New York, it turned into a near-daily ritual. He bought masonry trowels and built Frank Gehry-esque towers of slopes and swirls and terraced pathways, documenting the results on Instagram. “I had some pieces that were the size of a couple of adults,” he said.It was late morning, and Adelman was crouched in the sand at the Gansevoort Peninsula, a new man-made…4 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Dept. of Medicine: No Time to DieSome of my earliest memories are of summers with my grandparents, in New Delhi. I spent long, scorching months drinking lassi, playing cricket, and helping my grandparents find ripe mangoes at roadside markets. Then I’d return to the U.S., my English rusty from disuse, and go months or years without seeing them. At some point, my India trips started to feel like snapshots of loss. My grandfathers died suddenly, probably of heart attacks. My Biji, my father’s mother, fell and broke her hip in her seventies, and she spent her last years moving back and forth between her bed and her couch. My Nani, my mother’s mother, developed excruciating arthritis in both knees; in order for her to leave her fifth-floor walkup, my uncle practically had to carry her down…22 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024A Reporter Aloft: Flight of FancyA little more than a decade ago, Founders Fund, a venture-capital firm run by the entrepreneur, investor, and political gadfly Peter Thiel, issued a proclamation called “What Happened to the Future?” As an investment thesis, it was underwhelming—it advanced biotechnology, energy, and the Internet as smart bets—but it was received as something of a spiritual treatise. Thiel was best known for his early investment in Facebook, but he believed that the nation had become sluggish. We might have been attempting to terraform nearby planets or surmount death. Instead, we made apps. His statement belonged to the genre of the writer F. T. Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto of 1909, which proposed that Italy’s moribund museum culture be razed in favor of a machine cult of speed and steel: “We are going to…43 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Poems: VisionI watched from the earth,low in dry grass, tryingnot to breathe, blink, or stir.Gray mist spilt from the lipsof men dressed like Pilgrims, like Custer,like Mounties. I don’t know whenI was. Or where. Everywhere,everywhen, was the point.Dark morning or late day, Iwatched continents reunite,watched mountains kiss and blur.All that had been severedwas married back to itself.Deep seams of reunificationscarred the whole of the earth,the error of division mended—or else it was time itself I saw,rolling forward and back. I sawwhite men unloading figuresfrom ships, trucks, crates. Efficientand perfunctory, like art handlers,only the bodies were living: boundat the wrists, iron complicatingtheir necks. I strained to watchand comprehend the system, itslogics, these agents operatingin obedience to mechanicsand nothing more. How do I saythat what I was shown I sawfrom farther away than…2 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Books:Love MachinesLast month, a new dating app called Volar launched in New York City, with the promise “We go on blind dates. So you don’t have to.” To sign up, you enter your name and phone number, then submit yourself to a brief interview with a chatbot matchmaker. When I made an account, Volar’s bot asked what line of work I was in. “I’m a book critic,” I replied. “Recently,” I typed, “I’ve been reading a lot of speculative fiction. Right now, I’m reviewing two books about A.I. and dating.” By answering, I was training an A.I.-powered avatar to act as my representative in the virtual meet market. Seconds later, Volar invited me to read transcripts from three dates “I” had just gone on. In one, my avatar broke the ice…12 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024The Mail: The MailTHE U.K.’S PLIGHTSam Knight’s article about Conservative rule in the United Kingdom provided a focussed appraisal of the Party’s uneven performance (“Time’s Up,” April 1st). But Knight overlooked one force that has shaped the country’s trajectory: the extent to which its government has, since the seventies, transformed from a representative democracy, in which major decisions were made solely by elected officials with support from the civil service, to a popular democracy, in which some of the biggest questions are decided by popular vote rather than by Parliament.This transformation has created a truly irrational system, which takes important questions influenced by many complicated variables and boils them down to simple binary decisions to be made by people who may not be thoroughly informed. Democracy should remain an ultimate value in the…3 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Comment: So Many TrialsThe mass of motions, hearings, arguments, and gag orders related to the four criminal cases against Donald Trump can feel like a pile of jigsaw-puzzle pieces. They all fit together somehow, but the arrangement is unclear. In Florida, in the case involving Trump’s alleged hoarding of classified documents, Judge Aileen Cannon and Jack Smith, the special counsel, have been engaged in a bitter fight over jury instructions—even though there is as yet no jury, let alone a trial date. Meanwhile, the selection of actual jurors in the case related to a hush-money payment to the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels is due to begin on Monday in Manhattan. Once sworn in, that jury—the first to be impanelled in a criminal trial of a former President—might at last give some fixed form…5 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024The Pictures: In the StacksIf you go down the escalator in a building on Liberty Street, in the financial district, walk past some pickleball courts and an Alamo Drafthouse movie complex that sells truffe popcorn, and then take a few turns in a maze of basem*nt hallways, you will find yourself in a space that might convince you, with its tall stacks of dusty VHS tapes, that the nineties never ended.The tapes are part of the collection of Kim’s Video, the legendary movierental store. From the late nineteen-eighties—long before truffe popcorn or pickleball—to 2009, Kim’s offered New York film buffs a catalogue of rare titles. That year, Youngman Kim closed the store’s main location, on St. Marks, and more than fifty thousand tapes and DVDs were hastily packed and sent to Sicily, where the…4 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Poems: HyacinthI think of him in his thinning white undershirt,crisp white button-down, bluejeans,and the red wool jacket that was a gift from my brotherwho took my hand and placed it in my father’s handbefore my father’s hand was no longer my father’s hand,a hurried gesture, spontaneous, and full of my brother’s kindness.My brother was on watch. “Hurry,” he’d said,until he was surrounded by sisters.We were all silent.I don’t know if my father forgave the yearsI did not love him. Decades, even,when I did not know I loved him.Feels as if sorrow, like the highest shelvesat the dollar store I sometimes wander,replenishes itself.A month later, it was somehow Aprilin Washington State and a law was passedthat would have allowed us to place our fatherin a vessel and surround him with wood chipsand…1 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Fiction: Late LoveThey were newly married, each for the second time after living alone for years, like two grazing creatures from separate pastures suddenly finding themselves—who knows why—herded into the same meadow and grazing the same turf.That they were “not young,” though described by observers as “amazingly youthful,” must have been a strong component of their attraction to each other.K__, a widow, and T__, divorced a decade previously (from a woman who was now deceased), each lonely amid a busy milieu of friends and colleagues. The widow believed herself more devastated by life than the new husband, whose reputation as a historian and a public intellectual reinforced the collective impression that he was a man whom life had treated well. Only she, once she was his wife, understood how self-doubting the husband…34 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Books:The Missing LinkDelmore Schwartz died in the early morning of July 11, 1966, in an ambulance on the way to Roosevelt Hospital. He’d been living alone in a seedy hotel near Times Square, reading compulsively and scribbling in the many notebooks that he kept during his last, itinerant years. At fifty-two, he was no longer the precocious young writer and critic—“blazing with insight, warm with gossip,” as his friend John Berryman described him—who had charmed poetry’s old masters and young upstarts alike. He was often drunk, paranoid, and deeply unwell; friends failed to recognize him in the street. Schwartz spent the hours before his death banging about his hotel room, then decided to take out the trash. He suffered a heart attack in the elevator, stumbled onto the hotel’s fourth floor, and…16 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024The Art World:Warp SpeedImagine you’d been born in 1899. Imagine living through the invention of the Model T, the jet aircraft, the liquid-fuelled rocket, and the computer chip. Now imagine looking back on all this in 1965 and writing, as though with a shrug, “How slow will we appear some day?”It takes an uncommon turn of mind to survive decades this dizzying and then sum them up with perfect nonchalance—but a lot of the greatness of Anni Albers lay in her ability to stay undizzied and keep doing her thing, year after year. Not that she was afraid of innovation; her thing just happened to be weaving, an art form that, by her own calculation, had not changed in any fundamental way since the Stone Age.Critics reach for a few key words with…7 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Goings OnAPRIL 17 – 30, 2024What we’re watching, listening to, and doing this week.The Martha Graham Dance Company won’t officially turn a hundred until 2026, but it’s starting the party early with multiple centennial seasons. The theme of the first, at City Center, is “American Legacies.” The program includes two classics of nineteen-forties Americana: “Appalachian Spring,” Graham’s modernist masterpiece with its sound-of-America Aaron Copland score, and a revival of “Rodeo,” Agnes de Mille’s more conventional Western-themed breakthrough, with its Copland score rearranged for a bluegrass band. These are answered with a première by Jamar Roberts, formerly with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and now freelance. His “We the People” is a protest dance, alternating between struggles in silence and frontal assaults, with fists raised, propelled by the banjo and fiddle music…6 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024London Postcard: Forensic FuryHanan Wahabi, who is forty-six and works as a special-ed coördinator, was born in St. Mary’s Hospital in West London and grew up less than two miles away, on Portobello Road, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. She attended local schools, married at twenty-one, and became a mother at twenty-two. The next year, she was delighted to secure an apartment on the ninth floor of a nearby public-housing tower block; her brother Abdulaziz lived with his wife and three children on the twenty-first floor. On June 14, 2017, a fire broke out on the fourth floor shortly before 1 A.M. Residents were advised to stay in place, but Hanan’s sixteen-year-old son insisted on taking his eight-year-old sister downstairs and urged his parents to escape. They watched in horror…4 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Death Valley Postcard: Short-Term LakeManly is an ancient pluvial lake in Death Valley National Park which only sometimes exists. It forms intermittently in Badwater Basin, North America’s lowest point, following periods of heavy rain. After August’s Hur-ricane Hilary, the lake was suddenly there. A more recent deluge caused it to swell to six miles long and a foot deep, across America’s driest place.At 4:45 a.m. on a Saturday, Patrick Donnelly loaded six inflatable kayaks into his truck and drove from Shoshone, California, to the park. The moon, a waxing gibbous, shimmered through clouds onto the salt flats. Donnelly is a conservation biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity. His days normally involve composing rants against mineral companies and writing endangered-species petitions for rare flowers and fish. (He has said that “a well written Endangered…4 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Annals of Sound: What Is Noise?“Noise” is a fuzzy word—a noisy one, in the statistical sense. Its meanings run the gamut from the negative to the positive, from the overpowering to the mysterious, from anarchy to sublimity. The negative seems to lie at the root: etymologists trace the word to “nuisance” and “nausea.” Noise is what drives us mad; it sends the Grinch over the edge at Christmastime. (“Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!”) Noise is the sound of madness itself, the din within our minds. The demented narrator of Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” jabbers about noise while he hallucinates his victim’s heartbeat: “I found that the noise was not within my ears…. The noise steadily increased…. The noise steadily increased.”Yet noise can be righteous and majestic. The Psalms are full of joyful noise, noise…23 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Onward and Upward with Technology: Get RealOn a warm afternoon last fall, Steven Caron, a technical artist at the video-game company Quixel, stood at the edge of a redwood grove in the Oakland Hills. “Cross your eyes, kind of blur your eyes, and get a sense for what’s here,” he instructed. There was a circle of trees, some logs, and a wooden fence; two tepee-like structures, made of sticks, slumped invitingly. Quixel creates and sells digital assets—the objects, textures, and landscapes that compose the scenery and sensuous elements of video games, movies, and TV shows. It has the immodest mission to “scan the world.” In the past few years, Caron and his co-workers have travelled widely, creating something like a digital archive of natural and built environments as they exist in the early twenty-first century: ice…40 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024A Critic at Large:How Gullible Are You?Millions of people have watched Mike Hughes die. It happened on February 22, 2020, not far from Highway 247 near the Mojave Desert city of Barstow, California. A homemade rocket ship with Hughes strapped in it took off from a launching pad mounted on a truck. A trail of steam billowed behind the rocket as it swerved and then shot upward, detached parachute unfurling ominously in its wake. In a video recorded by the journalist Justin Chapman, Hughes disappears into the sky, a dark pinpoint in a vast, uncaring blueness. But then the rocket reappears and hurtles toward the ground, crashing, after ten long seconds, in a dusty cloud half a mile away.Hughes was among the best-known proponents of Flat Earth theory, which insists that our planet is not spherical…18 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Books: Briefly NotedThe Book of Love, by Kelly Link (Random House). This novel, the first by an author celebrated for her short fiction, follows a group of teen-agers who are determined to live normal lives amid intrusions of magic. Three classmates wake up to find that they have died; confused and annoyed, they make a deal with two mysterious beings, who allow them to return home in exchange for their participation in a series of trials. A supernatural power struggle ensues, but the book devotes most of its attention to the ordinary world, slowing the action to examine the relationships between its characters, most of whom are queer. Here, a magical quest is less absorbing than the act of texting a crush.What Kingdom, by Fine Gråbøl, translated from the Danish by Martin…2 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024Pop Music:Bleeding HeartThe opening moments of Olivia Rodrigo’s seventy-seven-date Guts World Tour—which began in February and arrived at Madison Square Garden for four sold-out nights in early April—feature a video of the pop star sprinting down a dumpy hallway, then rapping her knuckles on a purple door. Anyone attuned to Rodrigo’s musical disposition knows that whatever is waiting on the other side is probably not virtuous, exactly, but is almost certainly a good-ass time. Last Saturday, as her band slammed out the opening chords of the night’s first song, the punkish, frothing “Bad Idea Right?,” Rodrigo appeared onstage in a silver sequinned miniskirt with a matching bralette and black combat boots. The crowd was instantly united in a kind of lawless exuberance. The feeling in the room was: Let’s give ourselves something…6 min
The New Yorker|April 22-29, 2024The Current Cinema:Snap JudgmentsIs it the end of the world if Kirsten Dunst isn’t around to witness it? I’m beginning to wonder. At the mystical aliens-among-us climax of Jeff Nichols’s “Midnight Special” (2016), it is Dunst, aglow with Spielbergian wonderment, who compels our surrender to the thrill of the unknown. In Lars von Trier’s end-of-days psychodrama, “Melancholia” (2011), Dunst, giving her greatest performance, all but wills her clinical depression into a cataclysmic reality. And I’m tempted to throw in Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” (2017), an intimate Civil War gothic in which Dunst, as a dour Virginia schoolteacher, distills the existential gloom of the moment into every shattered stare. It may not be Armageddon, but, from her terrified vantage, who’s to say that tomorrow is another day?A very different civil war swirls around Dunst…7 min
Table of contents for April 22-29, 2024 in The New Yorker (2024)
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