harper’s magazine Archive

Where Zadie Smith’s “Getting In and Out” Misses the Mark

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Despite Smith’s powerful and undeniable ability to employ and maneuver language the way she does, “Getting In and Out” comes up short for two very vital reasons.

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “Atlas Aggregated” by Walter Kirn

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LitHub recently introduced a feature called “Book Marks,” which it describes as “‘Rotten Tomatoes’ for books.” Under the Book Marks grading system, a novel could receive an ‘A’ (Totally Positive), or a ‘B’ (Mostly Positive), or so on and so forth. This obviously raises some questions.

The Best Essay I Read This Month: “The Habits of Highly Cynical People” by Rebecca Solnit

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There are many benefits of cynicism. But there’s also a certain kind of knee-jerk, armchair cynicism that lets those who subscribe to it reduce complex political and social events to doomed exercises in futility, and to pretend to know the totality of their worth. That kind of thinking is