The Stranger

19 articles

The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am

On the magic of mother’s milk, which changes daily to meet the baby’s needs and can even start fighting an infection before anyone knows the kid is sick.


The Most Unusual Art Gift Ever

The holdings of the Seattle Art Museum are historically male-dominated. When Matthew Offenbacher won a prize for his own art, he decided to use it to beef up their queer and female holdings.


Being Gay in Iran

Coming out in a country where that can get you killed.


Faith Healers

How mergers between Catholic institutions and secular hospitals are changing the nature of health care.


The Lying Disease

On an affliction for the digital age, “Munchausen by internet.”


The Woman in 606

The aftermath of a stranger’s death and the puzzle of psychosis.


To Be or Not to Be?

An essay on the “history, meaning and practice of suicide, from third-century Christian death cults to the Aurora Bridge.”


The Bravest Woman in Seattle

She survived an evil, gruesome attack. Her partner did not. An account of a victim, a widow, telling her story on the witness stand.

Update, 4/16/12: This piece was just awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

The Cloud Appreciation Society

I first learned about cloud lovers in a police report concerning a man who received a blowjob from a young woman and went mad. The man — let's call him Carl (police reports have the names of suspects and victims redacted) — was in his 40s, and the woman, let's call her Lisa, was almost 18. The two first met in the fall of 2003 at a local TV station that was holding a contest to find the best video footage of Northwest clouds. According to the report, which was lost when I cleaned my messy desk in 2005 (I'm recalling all of this from an imperfect memory), Carl, who was married and well-to-do, fell in love with Lisa, whose family was not so well-off, upon seeing her for the first time. He had a videocassette in his hand; she had a videocassette in her hand. He showed his tape to the station's weatherman (sun, sky, clouds). She showed hers (clouds, sky, sun). During the contest, his eyes could not escape her beauty. After the contest, the impression she made on his mind intensified. That bewitching coin in the short story by Jorge Luis Borges, "The Zahir," comes to mind. If a person sees this coin only once, the memory of its image begins to more and more dominate his/her thoughts and dreams. Soon the coin becomes the mind's sole reality. Lisa's face was Carl's Zahir.

The Urban Hunt

On killing and eating small game in Seattle.


My Father Is an African Immigrant and My Mother Is a White Girl from Kansas and I Am Not the President of the United States

 The writer speaks with his father for the first and last time.

My father moved back to Nigeria one month after I was born. Neither I nor my sister Ijeoma, who is a year and a half my elder, have any recollection of him. Over the course of the next 16 years, we did not receive so much as a phone call from him, until one day in the spring of 1999, when a crinkled envelope bearing unfamiliar postage stamps showed up in the mailbox of Ijeoma's first apartment. Enclosed was a brief letter from our father in which he explained the strange coincidence that had led to him "finding" us.* It was a convoluted story involving his niece marrying the brother of one of our mother's close friends from years ago. As a postscript to the letter, he expressed his desire to speak to us and included his telephone number.


The Long Con

The anatomy of a bungled, massively expensive undercover sting conducted by the Seattle Police Department.