Lidija Haas

Lidija Haas is an editor at the Paris Review.

At MoMA PS1: Niki de Saint Phalle

Lidija Haas, 12 August 2021

Halfway​ through Structures for Life, the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibition at MoMA PS1 (until 6 September), is a letter Saint Phalle wrote to her muse and sometime lover, Clarice Rivers. It’s scrawled on a 1966 poster for her walk-in sculpture, Hon – en katedral (‘She – a cathedral’), then under construction in Stockholm’s Moderna Museet. Hon, a pregnant,...

At the Currywurst Wagon: Deborah Levy

Lidija Haas, 2 January 2020

Theworld according to Deborah Levy is like an emotionally charged dream or joke. A man accepts soup from an elderly neighbour and retches, catlike, on a mouthful of grey hair. People walk around naked in public. A corpse in a swimming pool is revealed not to be a corpse but a stammering, unstable young woman; a murdered teenage daughter turns out merely to have got her first period and to...

Grace Paley’s people reappear from story to story and their lives usually extend beyond the frame. Her suspicion of ‘the absolute line between two points’ may explain why she was so frequently accused of wisdom. If you were looking for lessons on better living, you might find them in the fiction; especially if you choose to read the fiction through the life and vice versa, as the Reader seems to encourage. ‘I learned from her,’ Nora Paley says of her mother, ‘that precision requires a warm eye, not a cold one.’ But most of the time she didn’t make things too cosy for her characters.

You can’t​ have it both ways and both ways is the only way Ariel Levy wants it. Levy is best known for her portraits, in the New Yorker, of women who test society’s boundaries, or run up hard against them, and she has often hinted at her own stake in these stories. There was Caster Semenya, the South African runner forced to endure hormone testing and endless discussion as to...

Close-up of Amy Winehouse. Not the stylised mask of later years, with its extravagant licks of eyeliner. What you’re seeing is a quite different face, that of, as one record exec recalls her, ‘a classic North London Jewish girl’, large-eyed, fleshy, constantly in motion; it belongs to someone mouthy, beguiling and almost resplendently ordinary. Off-camera, a female interviewer appears to be trying to get Winehouse to join her in pontificating on women musicians.

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