Berfrois

Beer and Cider

Beer and Cider

There is no beverage which I have liked "to live with" more than beer; but I have never had a cellar large enough to accommodate much of it, or an establishment numerous enough...

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Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #6

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #6

Ralph Wurlitzer, who is 82 years old, published five novels, of which Flats is number two. It takes place in the aftermath of some unnamed disaster...

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Check Out a Tear

Check Out a Tear

I’m a crier by nature, but as I have aged, my reasons for tearing up have become more elusive, even to me. Where once I could predict a crying spell, like spotting an East Texas thunderstorm moving across the landscape...

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Ed Simon: Once We Went to the Moon

Ed Simon: Once We Went to the Moon

Our culture has always had ambiguous feelings about the moon; both the celestial orb that lights our way home and a furnace of madness that causes lycanthropy and marks the witches’ sabbath.

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Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #5

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #5

by Nicholas Rombes From Asymmetry, by Lisa Halliday. Simon and Schuster, 2018: The effect, on Alice, was dazzling and demoralizing all at once: reverberating in her sternum, the music made her more desperate than ever to do, invent, create—to channel all her own energies into the making of something...

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Vernon Lee: About Leisure

Vernon Lee: About Leisure

Hung in my room, in such a manner as to catch my eye on waking, is an excellent photograph of Bellini's St. Jerome in his Study. I am aware that it is not at all by Bellini

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Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #4

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #4

I first read Under Western Eyes as a graduate student in English at Penn State University in a terrible seminar called simply “Woolf and Conrad”...

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Late Monsoon

Late Monsoon

Delhi—In early April, a fire began to smolder inside the Ghazipur landfill, the trash mountain that stands like a brown, stinking sentinel, two hundred feet high, on the outskirts of New Delhi...

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To Raise a Doll

To Raise a Doll

From The Believer: On a Sunday morning in May 2018, I accompanied Vivia Wampler to a mall in Chico, California, where she often went to eavesdrop on other families. She held a Coke in one hand and a Subway sandwich in the other, her eyes scanning the food court. She...

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To Love an Addict

To Love an Addict

On our second date, he was tripping on mushrooms. All logic says I should have run the other way. But I did the opposite. I didn’t know anything about his alcoholism yet.

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Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #3

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #3

by Nicholas Rombes From Citizen: An American Lyric, by Claudia Rankine, 2014. The days of our childhood together were steep steps into a collapsing mind. The sentence appears a little over halfway through the book in the section titled “February 26, 2102 / In Memory of Trayvon Martin,” and it...

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Jessica Sequeira on Xanthi Barker

Jessica Sequeira on Xanthi Barker

The short novel or story can be so condensed it requires multiple scans, just like a poem. I read Xanthi Barker’s nouvelle three times and each time had a different response.

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One Perfect Sentence #1

One Perfect Sentence #1

Not “my mother stayed alive” but “my mother’s body.” The sentence comes near the midpoint of the novel as the narrator thinks back to the death of her parents. Her mother is in a coma where...

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Again They Are Scared

Again They Are Scared

When Chinese law professor Xu Zhangrun began publishing articles last year criticizing the government’s turn toward a harsher variety of authoritarianism...

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Lying Awake At Night

Lying Awake At Night

About once in so often you are due to lie awake at night. Why this is so I have never been able to discover...

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Clubbing

Clubbing

The Literary Club, known simply as “The Club,” was established in early 1764 after the portrait painter Joshua Reynolds became worried about his friend Samuel Johnson...

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Nadia de Vries: A Short History of Ectoplasm

Nadia de Vries: A Short History of Ectoplasm

You test the water with your elbow. You taste the milk before serving it. Is the temperature all right? Tenderness is throwing your body in the ring for someone else, is showing compassion...

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Ed Simon: Novel Prognostications

Ed Simon: Novel Prognostications

by Ed Simon He undertakes to write a Chronicle of things before they are done, which is an irregular, and a perverse way. —John Donne, from a sermon preached at Lincoln’s Inn, 1620 Between 1997 and 1998, representatives of His Majesty’s government stationed in Constantinople, Rome, Paris, and Moscow...

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Joanna C. Valente: Truth or Dare?

Joanna C. Valente: Truth or Dare?

by Joanna C. Valente The 7 train comes to a halt in the tunnel. It’s dark. No one knows where exactly in the tunnel. No one can hear anything except it’s so hot it almost feels like the humidity is cracking our bodies open, apart—is cracking the car walls open...

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Cultish Childhood

Cultish Childhood

“Where are you from?” For most people, this is a casual social question. For me, it’s an exceptionally loaded one, and demands either a lie or my glossing over facts

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The Gram

The Gram

Researchers have produced mountains of studies on the motivations and rewards that drive the social media user. The craving for attention, the narcissistic self-referencing...

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