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 Matthew Trammell is not like a piece by James Wood, and neither is like a piece by Peter Schjeldahl. One could not mistake Finnegan for Frazier, or Lepore for Paumgarten, or Goodyear 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.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 7, 2013 Issue

Pieces about Scandinavian TV, Greek antiquity, theatrical pickpocketing, and “civil society,” whatever that is, aren’t my cup of tea. And so, at first glance, this week’s issue of the magazine, with its bland Chris Ware cover, appeared most unpromising. But there’s always something to fire the imagination, even if it’s just a detail. Sure enough, that “Gintonic” in Amelia Lester’s "Tables For Two" on La Vara does the trick (“The best ‘Gintonic,’ though, is the one that comes with the peel of an entire lemon wrapped around the top of the glass, to be inhaled, like a bouquet, with every sip. It’s a drink so light and fragrant that it makes summer seem not just possible but imminent”). Delightful! I propose a toast. Here’s to Amelia Lester! Long may she write so sensuously! 

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