Fairouz in Exile
Life as a Syrian refugee in Germany.
Life as a Syrian refugee in Germany.
From the Translator’s Note:
Just over two weeks ago, on April 3, the renowned Mexican writer and investigative journalist Sergio González Rodríguez unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack at age 67. [His book] Bones in the Desert is a far-reaching investigation into the still-unsolved murders of hundreds of women and girls in the communities surrounding Mexico’s Ciudad Júarez, on the US border with El Paso, Texas. In the years since its publication in 2002, Bones in the Desert has left an indelible imprint on the modern literature of the Americas, both through its own merits and its foundational influence on Roberto Bolaño’s 2666. In crafting a fictionalized version of Ciudad Júarez, Bolaño collaborated directly with González Rodríguez, relying on him for substantial “technical help” in answering questions about the nature of the murders, and eventually including him as a character in the novel.
A cabbie and a passenger discuss Chinese economics and generational gaps.
Life with chronic migraines.
On Elena Ferrante:
Different names, every time, but the reaction is the same: a momentary light in the listener’s eyes that fades to bored disappointment. An Italian woman from Naples, whose name you wouldn’t know. Who did you expect?
Donald Trump and the fall of Atlantic City.
How the Library of Congress failed to adapt to the 21st century.
Living and working in the tech world.
On heroin and harm reduction.
On the appeal of astrology.
An oral history of the disaster:
Someone said to me, or maybe I read it, that the problem of Chernobyl presents itself first of all as a problem of self understanding. That seemed right. I keep waiting for someone intelligent to explain it to me.
AIDS activism in the “after” years.
The life and death of an Elvis obsessive.
An ode to Juiceboxxx, a 27-year-old rapper from Milwaukee no one’s ever heard of.
A strange correspondence between two men--hopes, fears, work, and garbage.
"Momentous. I received my permit. Now I am equipped, attached to my own industrial serial number, and there you have it. 90023-457-89-2. I’m not fooling around when I tell you this is big business dear Fred. I could convey any thing—spoiled fruit pulp, rusted play ground equipment, big hazardous syringes, worn out shoe horns, threadbare ear muffs, passé slot machines, unwound baseballs, and emptied paint cans. Pots and pans and kettles are no big deal what so ever. In dreams begin responsibilities Fred and what’s terrific is it’s not a dream any more. I am a licensed carrier on the make."
A narrator's philosophical observations on travel.
"How lost they must feel in the world, where all instructions, all the lyrics of all the stupidest possible songs, all the menus, all the excruciating pamphlets and brochures—even the elevator buttons!—are in their private language. They may be understood by anyone at any moment, whenever they open their mouths. They must have to write things down in special codes. Wherever they are, people have unlimited access to them—they are accessible to everyone and everything! I heard there are plans in the works to get them some little language of their own, one of those dead ones no one else is using anyway, just so that for once they can have something just for themselves."
A surprising trip into the propaganda machine.
An old crush is remembered via childhood memories and an unusual anecdote.
"Then he began wearing pastel skateboarding-themed shirts. SKATEBOARDING IS NOT A CRIME, one said. Wallace Marguerite is not committing a crime, Stella thought. It was novel and thrilling, true whether or not he was a skateboarder. She never saw a skateboard."
New York’s Pastor Parker and his growing string of Liberty Churches, each of which will “adopt the culture of its neighborhood.”
The rise and fall of a friendship between three Indian women.
"We were goddesses. Meena, Annie, and Nayantara. Even our names were like heroines. Meena and Annie had known each other since they were 5. I met them in seventh standard. Though we never said it aloud, we knew that three beauties had more power than two or one. Like the Hindu gods. Or all those pop groups. Like the Wilson Phillips. We liked the Wilson Phillips. We pretended to like the fat one but heart of hearts we didn’t."
A visit to the massive Northern California surf break.
“It is overwhelmingly young people of color, and those who work in their schools, who will bear the brunt of these closings and witness the worst effects of the budget cuts. Over the last six months, the SDP and the state of Pennsylvania have decided, again and again, that this is acceptable.”
A history of humanitarian intervention.
On literary manifestos, long-distance reading, and the egg of death.