LRB Cover
Volume 41 Number 23
5 December 2019

LRB blog 6 December 2019

James Butler
Broader Horizons

4 December 2019

Daniel Trilling
At the House of European History

3 December 2019

Amia Srinivasan
Back on Strike


23 September 2010

James Davidson
Greek Names

5 June 2014

Anne Carson
The Albertine Workout

4 September 1980

Richard Rorty
Kripke versus Kant

In the next issue, which will be dated 19 December, John Lanchester reports from Hong Kong.

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David Runciman

BJ + Brexit or JC + 2 refs?

One thing looks clear: for most people, the ultimate choice is a pretty miserable one. As far as one can tell, the public is not enthused by the prospect of either BJ + Brexit or JC + 2 refs. Usually that is put down to the personal unpopularity of the two leaders, both of whom attract strongly negative reactions. The people who dislike them seem to dislike them more than the people who like them like them; and many, many people dislike the pair of them. But there is something else going on. What makes the binary options in this election so unpalatable is a political system that puts too much power in the hands of majority governments and too little in the hands of minority ones. More

Patricia Lockwood

Edna O’Brien’s ‘Girl’

A typical Edna O’Brien story begins on a square of green. A stone farmhouse looms behind, with a slick spot on the flagstones where the same tin can is emptied every morning by the hired man. Pigs are somewhere in the mix, as are sheep and cows. Around and above and within the green floats another colour, that of deep velvet, the sacred heart, a dog’s tongue. This is the austere plush of the Catholic Church, which is everywhere. A road skips like a ribbon past the front door, punctuated by one of the few unbeautiful things in the landscape: men who lie in wait to do pooly in you. So. ‘Hold on a minute,’ I said, when her latest novel arrived in the mail, ‘this book is about Boko Haram???’ More

Joanna Biggs

‘I’m a narcissist and so is Ben Lerner’

The Topeka School is more than a confession, an excuse, a romp, a holiday; it uses what has come from Lerner’s earlier experiments in autofiction – the unexpected contact that can arise out of it, the questioning of art and sex and political engagement – to think about who gets to speak and what language will even allow us to say. More

Jon Day

‘Did I think this, or was it Lucy Ellmann?’

What’s most unusual about Ducks, Newburyport isn’t its length but the sustained attention it pays to the details of domestic life that usually go unwritten. That its maximalism feels like a provocation is partly because no one has paid this much attention to this kind of mind before. The intimacy it produces depends on recognition. More

Short Cuts
James Meek

At the Movies
Michael Wood


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