Brief Written Notes | The New Yorker


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Our AmericaWritten by Claudio Lumnitz (another press). In the early nineteenth century, Lumnitz’s ancestors fled Eastern Europe to South America, seeking a haven from anti-Semitism. In the next half-century, his family moved between Peru, Colombia, France, Romania, Israel, Chile, and Mexico. In Peru, Lumnitz’s grandparents became part of the Marxist Jewish vanguard. Back in Romania in the 1930s, they spent two years trying to persuade the Jews to leave. In the wake of the exodus, Lumnitz wrote that a family history such as this “is no longer an aristocratic incantation of the glories of lineage.” It is a way to confront and redefine notions of homeland, belonging and history.

No one is normalWritten by Roy Richard Greenker (Norton). This study, conducted by a cultural anthropologist from a long line of accomplished psychiatrists, traces the relationship between mental illness and stigma. In the 1960s, the author’s father and grandfather worked together to criticize the obsessed pursuit of conformity to “normality,” which they believed was detrimental to mental health. Own author research challenges and complements their ideas. It celebrates neurological diversity, a movement that recognizes cognitive differences as normal, and takes modern medical treatment, which attempts to scientifically explain “previously nonmedical problems”. He writes that even if we look to biology to explain mental phenomena, “the meanings of those conditions will still be of our own making.”

BinaWritten by Anakana Schofield (New York Review Books). This touching novel is narrated by the title character, a seventy-four-year-old woman who lives in the Irish countryside. She struggles with the continuing presence of an abusive partner, the death of her closest friends, and her growing involvement with a secretive group helping people die by suicide. On the spot, they were tart and compassionate, offering readers a range of warnings based on experience, such as “Don’t decide if the tea doesn’t taste good.” As her elliptical narrative flows through footnotes, revised nouns, and lyrical passages resembling prose poetry, her ornate memories unite in a powerful chorus, urging readers to “sit / shut up / and if a woman is talking, listen.”

Popular longingWritten by Natalie Shapiro (Copper Canyon). The intersections and separations of art and money, war and desire, work and pleasure, revive this poetic intransigence. Through a rigid and surreal positivism, Shapero investigates the affinities and banalities that define contemporary existence. It is the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčtranscendence in a world led by consumerism. In the Sonnet sequence, you reflect on the value of art and the implications for its destruction. By examining the lenses of nostalgia, evaluation, and observation, these poems also investigate the dynamics of search power. Shapiro writes: “We wish / affirm that everyone is recognized in death.” “Invisible as we are in this life, all we have.”


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