LRB Cover
Volume 39 Number 9
4 May 2017

LRB blog 27 April 2017

Jeremy Bernstein
Annals of Fact-Checking

26 April 2017

Samuel Earle
Hollande’s Successor

25 April 2017

Alex Abramovich
Bad Colour


8 November 2012

Michael Newton
Laurent Binet

30 March 2017

Susan McKay
The Irish Border

22 September 2016

Tom Crewe
Ed Balls

In the next issue, which will be dated 18 May, Nicholas Spice on De Quincey, James Wolcott on Norman Podhoretz’s Making It and Ian Patterson on Jilly Cooper.

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Adam Shatz

Mass Incarceration

One of the great paradoxes of the Obama era is that it encouraged so many liberals, both black and white, to see the black experience in America not as a slow, arduous struggle for freedom culminating in the election of a black president – Obama’s version, not surprisingly – but as an unending nightmare. Not least among the reasons was that a black man of unerring self-discipline and caution, bipartisan to a fault, should have provoked such ferocious white resistance – fanned by the man who questioned the validity of his birth certificate and then succeeded him as president. More

Tim Parks

‘Les Misérables’

There are references to sex in the book, but it is always disreputable, destructive sex. This is one of the things that must put a question mark over Les Misérables’s achievement: a narrative claiming to offer ‘the social and historical drama of the 19th century’, should surely have something to say about the impulse that was absolutely central not only to its author’s life, but to life in general. Sex never so much as occurs to Valjean, or indeed to those who adore him – this while Valjean’s creator was enjoying the charms of every chambermaid he could lay his hands on. More

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

In and Out of Mosul

For the last three years, Ali and his men and fellow officers in the Iraqi Special Operations Forces have been living like modern-day nomads. Once a neighbourhood is liberated, they move into abandoned civilian houses and set up camp. When the frontline shifts they move with it and change houses, sometimes every night, but often they find themselves stuck in the same house for weeks. Whether in mud huts in villages with no running water, in villas with nice décor and expansive gardens or in brick houses in the narrow alleyways of provincial towns, they build their temporary nests, moving into the beds of a family that has just joined a caravan of refugees, replacing the stinking blankets they have brought from a previous house with fresh ones. They talk about girls, drinking Grey Goose, and their wives and children back home. More

Fida Jiryis


After the wiping out of Palestine in 1948, about 15 per cent of the Palestinian population remained in the new state of Israel. On the surface, we are far more privileged than our brethren in the West Bank and Gaza; having Israeli citizenship and a passport means that we can vote, we have access to good education, public healthcare and social benefits, and we can travel easily, although we can’t visit some Arab countries. We don’t live in an occupied zone surrounded by checkpoints, with the constant threat of clashes, Israeli army incursions and settler violence. We are free to study almost anything we choose, in a country with a large job market. But this is a façade behind which is a system of rampant structural and institutional discrimination. As Palestinians, we spend every minute of our lives paying for the fact that we are not Jewish. More

At Tate Britain
Nicholas Penny

Short Cuts
Thomas Meaney

Empson’s Buddha
Michael Wood


AUDIO People will hate us again

Julian Barnes reads his Brexit diary.

Julian Barnes on Georges Simenon and Brexit. Listen »

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VIDEO The Last London

Iain Sinclair walks around the city he can no longer write about.

Iain Sinclair on the city he can no longer write about. Watch »

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