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Nathaniel Rich

Nathaniel Rich is the author, most recently, of Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade (MCD/FSG, 2021). He is a recipient of VQR’s Emily Clark Balch Prize for Fiction.


Backstage. Joshua Tree, CA, 2022.

Don’t Be a Square

September 11, 2023 | Photography

The Dissonance of Living in the Anthropocene


Blue Rock

Fall 2017 | Fiction

As the dinghy merged with the horizon, Devers raised his terrible high voice.

“Bricks, sir?”

I reminded myself that Devers was a novice and should be forgiven for assuming that I had time for leisure. Unlike Bertram, the first assistant keeper, I did not have to check the fog signal, clean the beehive lens, trim the lantern wicks, and scrub the walls, floors, windows, balconies, and railings, inside and outside. Unlike the second assistant, Carter, I did not have to polish the brasswork—a ceaseless operation, since nearly every fixture in Blue Rock Lighthouse was made of brass, which tarnished rapidly in the sea mist. And unlike Devers himself, the third assistant keeper, I did not have to assist the first two assistants. All that was left to me was the single remaining job, which encompassed all the others and was the very reason for the lighthouse’s existence: I had to save the lives of any mariners unfortunate enough to pass within a league of Blue Rock.