What is The New Yorker? I know it’s a great magazine and that it’s a tremendous source of pleasure in my life. But what exactly is it? This blog’s premise is that The New Yorker is a work of art, as worthy of comment and analysis as, say, Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Each week I review one or more aspects of the magazine’s latest issue. I suppose it’s possible to describe and analyze an entire issue, but I prefer to keep my reviews brief, and so I usually focus on just one or two pieces, to explore in each the signature style of its author. A piece by Nick Paumgarten is not like a piece by Dana Goodyear, and neither is like a piece by Ian Frazier. One could not mistake Finnegan for Friend, or Bilger for Lepore, or Collins for Khatchadourian. Each has found a style, and it is that style that I respond to as I read, and want to understand and describe.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mid-Year Top Ten (2011)

A dazzling river of New Yorkers flows through this blog – twenty-six so far this year – and since we’re now half way through 2011, it’s as good a time as any to pause, look back, and pluck a few favorites from the magazine’s exhilarating current of prose. Here’s my “Mid-Year Top Ten New Yorker Stories for 2011”:

1. David Grann’s “A Murder Foretold” (April 4, 2011)
2. Elif Batuman’s “The View from the Stands” (March 7, 2011)
3. Philip Gourevitch’s “Climbers” (July 11 & 18, 2011)
4. Ian Frazier’s “Back to the Harbor” (March 21, 2011)
5. Raffi Khatchadourian’s “The Gulf War” (March 14, 2011)
6. Geoff Dyer’s “Poles Apart” (April 18, 2011)
7. Mike Peed’s “We Have No Bananas” (January 10, 2011)
8. Jeffrey Toobin’s “Madoff’s Curveball” (May 30, 2011)
9. Keith Gessen’s “Nowheresville” (April 18, 2011)
10. Gabrielle Hamilton’s “The Lamb Roast” (January 17, 2011)

Credit: The above artwork is by Laurent Cilluffo; it appears in the May 16, 2011 issue of The New Yorker as an illustration for "On The Horizon."

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