The Paris Review10 min read
Why Are We So Fascinated by Cults?
Still from Wild Wild Country. In March, I sent an announcement around to friends and colleagues: watch out for my new novel, Buddhism for Western Children. It’s a spiraling story of a powerful, manipulative guru versus a boy who must escape to recove
The Paris Review2 min read
For Sarah
I was drinking coffee with a friend in Los Angeles, in an adorable cafe that also happened to sell books. On a whim, I decided to see if they had any of mine. I made my way to the w’s, and there it was—my first novel—on the shelf. I felt happiness fo
The Paris Review5 min read
Staff Picks: Garbage Gods, Bachelors, and Doinks
“Rammellzee: Racing for Thunder,” 2018. Installation view. Photo: Lance Brewer, courtesy of Red Bull Arts New York. © The Rammellzee Estate 2018. I first learned about the artist Rammellzee from Dave Tompkins’s book, How to Wreck a Nice Beach, and I
The Paris Review5 min read
Arshile Gorky’s Muse Recalls Their First Date
Gorky and Fielding at an early stage of their relationship, taken by her brother on a beach near Norfolk, Virginia, in 1941. Image courtesy the Arshile Gorky Foundation. Like most troubled romances, that between the famed Abstract Expressionist paint
The Paris Review6 min readPsychology
Poetry Rx: You All Have Lied
In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Claire Schwartz is on the line. Original illustration b
The Paris Review7 min read
Whither The Angel In Angels In America?
Emma Thompson in the HBO film of Angels in America. There are some of us who would rather face death than face our own delusion and, friends, I am one of those people. I have argued for the existence of horrible things—ovarian cancer, bedbugs, even a
The Paris Review9 min read
Hunting For A Lesbian Canon
At the Aligre flea market near my Parisian flat, I haggle over a trinket I’ve decided to give to my on-the-rocks lover. It is a rock, a small but well-shined one. Twenty euros is too much, I insist. I’m from Ukraine, I tell the seller, in an attempt
The Paris Review2 min read
You, Too, Can Live in Norman Mailer’s House
Images courtesy of Core NYC. Norman Mailer’s Brooklyn Heights pad is on the market! The fourth-floor two-bedroom apartment overlooking the promenade was first listed in 2011, but the sale fell through when the prospective buyer discovered the atrium
The Paris Review2 min readFood & Wine
Writers’ Fridges: Leslie Jamison
In our new series Writers’ Fridges, we bring you snapshots of the abyss that writers stare into most frequently: their refrigerators. Any discussion of my fridge in the current moment needs to begin with a discussion of who lives in my home: my husb
The Paris Review3 min read
Tom Wolfe, Straight-Arrow Virginia Gent
Tom Wolfe, New York City, November 2011. Back in the day when I was stepping out and Anatole Broyard kept a one-room city fifth-floor walkup in which I would not infrequently step out in, Tom was living only a block or so easterly and would, damn our
The Paris Review11 min read
Boy Genus: An Interview with Michael Kupperman
Michael Kupperman’s work traffics in one-off and absurdist premises and is immersed in a certain kind of Americana nostalgia. His ongoing series Tales Designed to Thrizzle, which comprises eight issues collected in two volumes, features jokes that ri
The Paris Review5 min read
The Birds at Rikers Island
In order to get to Rikers Island, you must cross a bridge that rises steeply, hiding the other side from view. A sign in brightly colored cursive reads: Have a nice tour! At the top of a wooden staircase, you present your ID in exchange for a numbere
The Paris Review5 min readPolitics
The Soviet Anthology of “Negro Poetry”
Years before he worked alongside Thurgood Marshall on Brown vs. The Board of Education, attorney Loren Miller spent the summer of 1932 in Moscow helping to edit a Soviet anthology of “Negro poetry.” Miller had arrived that June with a group of twenty
The Paris Review6 min read
Tom Wolfe, 1931–2018
Tom Wolfe died yesterday at age eighty-eight. Between 1965 and 1981, the dapper white-suited father of New Journalism chronicled, in pyrotechnic prose, everything from Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters to the first American astronauts. And then, having re
The Paris Review2 min read
Redux: Reading About Mom
Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Re
The Paris Review9 min readHistory
The Surprising History (and Future) of Fingerprints
Original illustration by Ellis Rosen Recently, for a background check, for a visa, I had to get fingerprinted by an agent admissible to the FBI while I was still in France. No, we can’t fingerprint you, the website of the Embassy of the United States
The Paris Review4 min read
Gertrude Stein’s Mutual Portraiture Society
Portraits of Gertrude Stein by Picabia, Picasso, and Valleton. Between 1908 and her death, in 1946, Gertrude Stein created over a hundred prose portraits, which she called “word paintings.” Most of her portraits were of her friends: Alice B. Toklas,
The Paris Review4 min read
The Last Pawnshop Treasure
There is a pawnshop in Danbury, Connecticut, that I frequent. Like most pawnshops, it is at once depressing and intriguing. I often check out pawnshops out of a foolhardy belief that I will find treasure. I used to scour flea markets with that same o
The Paris Review8 min read
Mad or Bad? Magritte’s Artistic Rebellion
René Magritte, La moisson (The Harvest), 1943. Long considered aberrations in his artistic career, René Magritte’s sunlit surrealist and vache pictures have recently been reassessed by art historians and critics not only on their own terms but also i
The Paris Review5 min readFood & Wine
Cooking with Émile Zola
In her Eat Your Words series, Valerie Stivers cooks up recipes drawn from the works of various writers.   It’s finally the season for the farmers market, which inspired me to dig out my copy of The Belly of Paris by Émile Zola (1840–1902), a book wh
The Paris Review7 min read
What Our Contributors Are Reading This Month
In place of our staff picks this week, we’ve asked contributors from our Spring issue to write about what they’re reading, looking at, and listening to this month. Still from Hereditary, 2018. For months now, I have been waiting anxiously for the mov
The Paris Review4 min read
All I Want for Mother’s Day Is a Goddamn Drink
A tipsy Klimt This Mother’s Day, I’d like to raise a mocktail to all the mothers-to-be, to all of us united in suffering the joys and the indignities of pregnancy, stone-cold sober. As my own mother tells it, she knew she was pregnant with me, her fi
The Paris Review6 min read
Nietzsche Wishes You an Ambivalent Mother’s Day
Mary Cassatt, Sleepy Baby, 1910 The cultural institution of Mother’s Day began with a single massive flower delivery. In 1908, Anna Jarvis, widely regarded as the founder of the holiday, delivered five hundred white carnations to Andrews Methodist Ep
The Paris Review6 min read
The Moment of Writing
Leonid Pasternak, The Passion of Creation, c. 1880. When does writing begin? The act of committing the first words to a page—as I am doing now—is cited for its difficulty. Though those words might well be deleted from the final draft, the resistance
The Paris Review6 min readPsychology
Poetry Rx: Pleasure as a Means
In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion, and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Sarah Kay is on the line. Original illustration by Ell
The Paris Review7 min read
Selected Sentences from Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi
A few words about an underappreciated piece of reading technology. Talking about underlining in books. Nobody shows you how to do this, and it’s a pity. You find out quick that if you do it wrong, you ruin the book. If you do it right, though, you cr
The Paris Review9 min read
This Feels Like Never-Ending
The Dillinger Escape Plan in concert. Photo: Stefan Raduta. And I was every question that never had an answer I see right through you And never even noticed that there always was a reason That we were never meant to be left alone. —The Dillinger Esca
The Paris Review9 min read
Inheriting a Legacy
In our new monthly column, The Big Picture, Cody Delistraty will travel across Europe—from Copenhagen to Dublin to Berlin to London—searching out essential artworks and exhibitions that speak to a wider cultural context, such as our desire for wander
The Paris Review2 min read
Redux: Emily’s Other Daffodil
Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Re
The Paris Review7 min read
A Gentler Reality Television
A few weeks ago, my wife and I sat down to watch the reboot of Queer Eye. We were a bit skeptical. After all, the original debuted fifteen years ago, at the beginning of the reality-TV boom and also at a time when any queer representation on TV could
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