Andrew Martin is the author of Early Work, a novel, and Cool for America, a story collection, which will be published in July. (May 2020)


Getting Away With It

Nell Zink; drawing by Hope Gangloff


by Nell Zink


by Nell Zink
Though Dickens is often invoked as a point of comparison for writers of wildly varying styles and quality, Nell Zink may be the contemporary writer who most deserves the comparison. She has a Dickensian gift for caricature and set pieces, as well as his nagging, theatrical tendency to wrap all the story’s loose ends in a bow.

Women on the Verge

Yuko Tsushima, St. Malo, France, 1995

Territory of Light

by Yuko Tsushima, translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt

Child of Fortune

by Yuko Tsushima, translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt
In 1948, when Yuko Tsushima was just over a year old, her father, the novelist and lifelong enfant terrible Osamu Dazai, and his mistress, Tomie Yamazaki, committed suicide by throwing themselves into a Tokyo canal. It was Dazai’s fifth documented attempt; a previous suicide pact resulted in the death of …

A More Personal Chile

Alejandro Zambra; illustration by Joanna Neborsky

Not to Read

by Alejandro Zambra, translated from the Spanish and edited by Megan McDowell
“I abandon books easily,” the Chilean novelist, story writer, poet, and essayist Alejandro Zambra said in a 2015 interview with the Peruvian novelist Daniel Alarcón. Before, especially when I wrote literary criticism, I had the urge to read books from cover to cover. If I was writing about them, I’d …

Songs of Experience

Deborah Eisenberg; illustration by Joanna Neborsky

Your Duck Is My Duck: Stories

by Deborah Eisenberg
In the title story of Deborah Eisenberg’s new collection,Your Duck Is My Duck, the unnamed narrator, a painter, is sharing a guesthouse with Amos Voinovich, an avant-garde puppeteer. The beneficiaries of a wealthy couple’s largesse, they’ve been put up at a baronial estate in an unspecified developing country to produce …


Johnny Cash’s Lost Decade

Johnny Cash performing at

When Johnny Cash died in September 2003, he was in the midst of a career renaissance that had begun nearly a decade earlier, when he recorded a series of albums with the producer Rick Rubin. The extraordinary popularity of those albums helps explain the release of Out Among The Stars, a new album consisting of songs from “lost” recording sessions that took place mostly in 1984. Yet these sessions, in tone and sound, are nearly the opposite of the pared-down records in the earlier series.

The Cradle of Soul

Wilson Pickett and keyboardist Spooner Oldham at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 1966

Muscle Shoals tells the story of how a tiny Alabama town on the Tennessee River became the site of some of the best rock and soul music recordings of the 1960s and 1970s. Along with Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin, Etta James, the Rolling Stones, and Paul Simon recorded some of their best-known songs in Muscle Shoals. It’s where Percy Sledge sang “When a Man Loves a Woman,” where the Staple Singers did “I’ll Take You There.”

The Intern Who Went Out in the Cold

I was hired as an intern at The New York Review during my last month as an undergraduate, when the previous intern was abruptly deported. After interviewing at the old office on 56th and Broadway, I started work during the first week in our light-filled place on Hudson Street, in the spring of 2008. Bob’s desk, for the only time in my tenure, had only two or three hundred pieces of paper on it.