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Essays

Recent Issue

The Remained

“Growing up, we could make up two cricket teams with the young guys around here. Not anymore.”

Trevor Chen sits with his brother Stephen inside Sei Vui Club in Tiretti Bazaar, Kolkata’s old Chinatown. They’re waiting for the rest of the group to show up.

Illustration by Lauren Simkin Berke

Mountains and Hills (and Molehills)

Is Mount Everest the tallest mountain on Earth? It would certainly seem to qualify. Chinese geographers tell us that it measures 29,017 feet, while Nepali geographers make it a skosh short of 29,029 feet. The National Geographic Society adds another six feet to the count, a figure the Encyclopaedia Britannica endorses, following measurements taken by an American expedition twenty years ago.

Illustration by Shawn Theodore

Survivor Files

We are survivors: we the descendants of the Africans who endured the wretched march to the west coast of their continent, brutal confinement, and cruel transatlantic passage, to reach alive—somehow alive—the shores of a new world.

VQR Online

Photo by Gary Honis

Night Moves

July 5, 2016

In "Night Moves," Amanda Petrusich visits Cherry Springs State Park, a Pennsylvania swath of night sky, where light pollution and fracking threaten the existence of one of the darkest places in America.

If Everything Is So Amazing, Why’s Nobody Happy?

October 5, 2015

When I talk to my students about living for compassion, they tend to be quite interested. But few of them have ever contemplated this sort of life before. Like the life of courage and the life of thought, the life of compassion seems to be receding in our culture. People don’t talk much about ideals any more. We don’t usually offer them as viable options to the young.

The Southwesternization of the American Palate

June 17, 2015

Barrow, Alaska, is about as far from anywhere in North America as it’s possible to get: hard by the Beaufort Sea, 720 miles from Anchorage, 3,500 miles from Washington, DC, 1,100 miles from the North Pole. Yet, until very recently, it was possible to stumble across taiga and tundra and find, there in the heart of the town, a Mexican restaurant.