The Magazine
March 8, 2021
“The Polar Opposite,“ by John Cuneo.
Personal History
How to Practice
I wanted to get rid of my possessions, because possessions stood between me and death.
By Ann Patchett
Letter from Gambia
Fish Farming Is Feeding the Globe. What’s the Cost for Locals?
In the small coastal country, an exploding industry has led to big economic promises, and a steep environmental price.
By Ian Urbina
Annals of Technology
How to Build an Artificial Heart
Millions of hearts fail each year. Why can’t we replace them?
By Joshua Rothman
A Reporter at Large
Last Exit from Afghanistan
Will peace talks with the Taliban and the prospect of an American withdrawal create a breakthrough or a collapse?
By Dexter Filkins
More Reporting
The Critics
Kazuo Ishiguro Uses Artificial Intelligence to Reveal the Limits of Our Own
In his latest novel, the gaze of an inhuman narrator gives us a new perspective on human life, a vision that is at once deeply ordinary and profoundly strange.
By James Wood
Briefly Noted
“In Memory of Memory,” “American Baby,” “Cathedral,” and “The Weak Spot.”
When the Barbizon Gave Women Rooms of Their Own
The story of New York City’s most famous women-only hotel is also a story of class and sexual politics in the twentieth century.
By Casey Cep
Podcast Dept.
The Musicological Zest of “Switched On Pop”
The show’s hosts deliver charmingly rigorous dissections of Taylor Swift and Weeknd songs, slipping in a fair amount of music history and theory.
By Alex Ross
On Television
The Dizzying Hairpin Turns of “Behind Her Eyes”
It is hard to tell who is warden and who is prisoner, who is crazy and who is sane, and the Netflix show revels in this uncertainty.
By Naomi Fry
The Current Cinema
Anthony Hopkins Rules the Screen in “The Father”
Florian Zeller’s adaptation of his play about old age shows Hopkins at the frightening summit of his powers.
By Anthony Lane
More Criticism
The Talk of the Town
Amy Davidson Sorkin on hope amid COVID; touring the rooms at the top; a P.S.A. for the M.T.A.; mining Minecraft for wisdom; true selves on display.
With a Third Vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, Are We Finally Winning Against COVID-19?
It’s been a year of emotional ups and downs, but for now, at least, even with more variants of the virus, the ups seem to be winning.
By Amy Davidson Sorkin
Sky Line Postcard
Andi Schmied’s Billionaire-Espionage Art Project
The Hungarian artist, undercover as an oligarch, infiltrated Manhattan’s ultra-luxury high-rises with her fake husband, Zoltan, for a book of intentionally unartful photos.
By Nick Paumgarten
Hometown Heroes
An Instagram Influencer Recruits A-Listers to Help Rescue the M.T.A.
The documentarian Nicolas Heller, better known as New York Nico, has championed bodega owners online. Now he’s recording new subway announcements with Jerry Seinfeld, Remy Ma, and Fran Lebowitz to boost morale and shame door holders.
By André Wheeler
Worst Case Dept.
Problem-Solving with Minecraft’s Zombies
Mel Brooks’s son, the author and worst-case scenarist Max Brooks, thinks his new novel, based on the video game, can teach kids critical-thinking skills, like how to approach asymmetric warfare.
By Bruce Handy
Authenticity Dept.
Tallying the Lost Years for L.G.B.T. Seniors
An art exhibition at a Brooklyn retirement home features twelve of the country’s three million L.G.B.T. elders, many of whom fear having to go back into the closet when they enter senior housing.
By Michael Schulman
More Talk of the Town
Shouts & Murmurs
Shouts & Murmurs
Other Hygge-Like Scandinavian Trends to Make Your Sad Life Seem Intentional
“Smurtsvin,” the practice of putting on so much hand lotion that you are unable to use your phone or computer, and more.
By Susanna Wolff
More Shouts & Murmurs
“The Crooked House”
“Environmental analysis. That had been Mull’s field, when the earthquakes began and the house first fell.”
By Jonathan Lethem
More Fiction
Puzzles & Games Dept.
The Crossword: Monday, March 1, 2021
A challenging puzzle.
By Anna Shechtman
“Number Theory”
“We know we’re living with a patient // companion, like you, inquisitive.”
By Rosanna Warren
“Poem That Ends at the Ocean”
“How the poem gets there / doesn’t much matter, just so at last / it arrives.”
By Jim Moore
More Poetry
Goings On About Town
The Unparalleled Art of Lorraine O’Grady
On March 5, the Brooklyn Museum opens a retrospective of the artist, who has been centering Black lives in her performances and photo-based works for four decades.
Tables for Two
Vietnamese Specials at Ha’s Dac Biet
Anthony Ha and Sadie Mae Burns, who worked in high-profile kitchens until last March, opened a pop-up offering set meals and add-ons, for delivery or takeout, inspired by home cooking, their travels in Vietnam, and whatever strikes their fancy.
By Hannah Goldfield
More Goings On About Town
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