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Crimes in the Name of Freedom

Of the several monks who taught us English, Father Allen was the easiest to relate to. Father P. was ­obviously gay—we used different terms in those days—which ­created a certain unease among boys during adolescence. As for Father G., though he was just a few years older than we were, . . . . Continue Reading »

A Cloak of Fiction

Flannery O’Connor argued that the separation of matter and spirit, nature and grace, was fatal to the art of fiction, which requires an interest in characters, stories, and concrete details rather than problems, issues, and abstract statements. Novel-­writing, she insisted, is “so very much an . . . . Continue Reading »

Lupine Lessons

The wolves behind the fence at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York, were lithe and rangy. They weren’t big. They didn’t slaver. They trotted up and down as our human guide told us charming tales of wolf-­ambassadors, wild creatures who trusted their handlers enough to come out . . . . Continue Reading »

Fiction and Friendship

For reasons I haven’t been able to figure out, friendship—deep, genuine friendship—gets short shrift in contemporary fiction. The Chet & Bernie books are wonderful exceptions, and I am immensely grateful for them. Continue Reading »

Melancholic Verses

Twenty years ­after publishing his first ­novel—years he spent establishing himself, in incisive, often fearsome essays and reviews and nonfiction books, as a leading literary–cultural critic—Pankaj Mishra had a Damascene moment of sorts. He describes it in a recent essay for . . . . Continue Reading »

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