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Category Archives: Books

Flat by design

If there’s one thing we are taught in the United States about literature it’s that above all, it should be politically inert. Our literary figures are irrelevant to politics, and we believe this is correct. Imagine a novelist running for president, or a poet for a Senate seat, or a newspaper columnist for anything. “Hillary […]

The Place, Part I, Chapter 3

For my introduction to this translation project, click here. All comments and criticism welcome! My timidity held me back, and instead of bursting into the room I rapped on the door with my knuckles. I heard a quick noise from the other side, as if someone moved a chair or stood up from one quickly. I […]


An English translation of the short story “Laguna,” by Chilean author Manuel Rojas.

The Bonfire of the Vanities

I have two things to say about The Bonfire of the Vanities. First, it’s profoundly racist. Not that Tom Wolfe is racist, necessarily. I don’t know the guy. But there’s not a single sympathetic black character in a 700-page book full of black characters. If there’s a non-racist explanation for this, I’d like to hear […]

From The Bonfire of the Vanities: And in that moment Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later. For the first time he realized that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had […]

Globalization and the crash

In The Crash of 2008 and What it Means, George Soros makes the most eloquent critique of globalization that I’ve ever read. In a nutshell, he argues that starting in the 70s, rich countries forced Washington consensus austerity measures on poor (“periphery”) countries, while at the same time reserving for themselves the right to enact countercyclical […]

Killing Pablo

I had assumed Mark Bowden’s Killing Pablo would focus on the clandestine U.S. goons hunting down Pablo Escabar. It did, partly, and of course we all love reading about the extra-legal international escapades of the United States of America. But Bowden dedicated the far greater and more interesting portion of his book to the Colombians. […]