Magazine December 31, 2016, Issue

Unreal Fictions

Swing Time, by Zadie Smith (Penguin, 416 pp., $27)

Living overseas for many years, I learned to ask open-ended questions about culture. Thus I came to know, for example, a little of what the late-20th-century German army — beefed up by a draft and a rich country’s high taxes, but unable to do much of anything militarily — was like inside. An acquaintance of mine had served on the champion river-crossing-with-full-battle-gear team. (He did not seem worried that, in the event of a Russian invasion, he and his veteran comrades would not know how to resist except by finding a river and crossing and recrossing it; I didn’t have

To Read the Full Story
Sarah Ruden’s most recent books are the extensively revised second edition of her Aeneid translation and her new translation of the Gospels.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


Prosecutor, Heal Thyself An item in the Week in the December 5 issue begins: “If there’s anything more New Jersey than having a corrupt political figure create artificial traffic troubles to ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ We haven’t seen liberals this interested in Russians and fake news since Walter Duranty. ‐ Trump picked ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his nominee for secretary of state. As the ...
Politics & Policy


AUTUMN SONG after Chassignet Little flower, you live in constant danger: Likely to be crushed under foot or torn by wind, Sun-scorched or gobbled by a goat. These October days streaked with regrets and tears Are ...
Happy Warrior

Hillary Gone Wild

“Bigfoot. Chupacabra. The Loch Ness monster. All rarely seen. All shrouded in mystery. Tonight, we’re headed to the woods of Westchester County to search for the most elusive legend of ...


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