Books & the Arts

Ella Fitzgerald at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, 1970.

The Genius of Ella Fitzgerald The Genius of Ella Fitzgerald

She remade the American songbook in her image, uprooting the very meaning of musical performance.

May 28, 2024 / Books & the Arts / Sam Fentress

Edward Hopper's “October in Cape Cod,” 1946.

A Coming of Age Novel That Puzzles Through Gender A Coming of Age Novel That Puzzles Through Gender

In Griffin Hansbury’s Some Strange Music Draws Me In, a man’s recollections of his transition opens up into a nuanced examination of gender identity’s many contradictions.

May 27, 2024 / Books & the Arts / Grace Byron

Aran Islands woman

The Imperial Gaze Turns on Britain’s Isles The Imperial Gaze Turns on Britain’s Isles

In Elizabeth O’Connor’s Whale Fall, an encounter between English documentarians and a remote Welsh island community provokes questions of sexual and national identity.

May 23, 2024 / Books & the Arts / Emmet Fraizer

Point West of Algiers, North Africa, travel sketch, 1896.

Claire Messud’s Remarkable Experiment in Historical Fiction Claire Messud’s Remarkable Experiment in Historical Fiction

Chronicling a pied-noir family across generations and continents, she examines the moral and political responsibilities a novelist owes their kin and their readers.

May 22, 2024 / Books & the Arts / Lily Meyer

Shot from HBO’s “The Sympathizers”

The Many Worlds of HBO’s “The Sympathizer” The Many Worlds of HBO’s “The Sympathizer”

The adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel is a study of migration—between identities and countries and also between different historical periods and genres.

May 21, 2024 / Books & the Arts / Jorge Cotte

A portrait of Benedict (Baruch) Spinoza, 1754.

The Uses and Misuses of Spinoza The Uses and Misuses of Spinoza

The beguiling Dutch philosopher’s life and work is prone to misunderstandings and misreadings. A recent biography goes so far as to recruit him into the culture war.

May 20, 2024 / Books & the Arts / FT

The Roots of Trans Women’s Unjust Treatment

The Roots of Trans Women’s Unjust Treatment The Roots of Trans Women’s Unjust Treatment

Jules Gill-Peterson’s A Short History of Trans Misogyny is an essential primer on the colonial and racist origins of hatred against those who refuse to adhere to the gender binary...

May 16, 2024 / Books & the Arts / McKenzie Wark

Saamer Usmani as Raj Varma, Jess Hong as Jin Cheng, Liam Cunningham as Wade in 3 Body Problem.

What’s Ailing Prestige TV? What’s Ailing Prestige TV?

In Netflix’s big budget series 3 Body Problem, the flaws of this era of streaming is laid bare.

May 15, 2024 / Books & the Arts / Vikram Murthi

Martin Peretz and then–New Republic editor Hendrick Hertzberg, 1984.

Marty Peretz and the Travails of American Liberalism Marty Peretz and the Travails of American Liberalism

From his New Left days to his neoliberalism and embrace of interventionism, The Controversialist is a portrait of his own political trajectory and that of American liberalism too....

May 14, 2024 / Books & the Arts / Jeet Heer

Illustration from “The Ship That Sailed to Mars,” by William M. Timlin.

The Radical World-making of Joanna Russ The Radical World-making of Joanna Russ

In her science fiction, the novelist offered not only an astringent critiques of the present but also bold visions of the future.

May 13, 2024 / Books & the Arts / Stephanie Burt

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