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<I>Having and Being Had</I>. By Eula Biss.  Riverhead, 2020.  336pp. HB, $26.

Self-Portrait of an Artist

  If the case of John Berger’s debut novel, A Painter of Our Time, still enrages sixty-three years after its release in 1958, a writer’s wrath especially might be attended by the smallest, wistful pang. An idea-driven meditation on the rol [...]

The Miracle Girl

On the first day of her stigmata, Xiao Chun’s palms bled so much that the school sent her home early. Xiao Xue sighed at this turn of events and gathered her things to follow her sister. Xiao Chun was already prettier, smarter, and more obedient—she just had to be holier too.

Wong Daifu, the village doctor, made a house call when he heard about the strange condition. He squinted at the puncture wounds, which were not round and smooth but thin ovals with fringes of red, protruding skin. “And you’re sure she didn’t hurt herself accidentally?” he asked.

Photography by Mary Anne Andrei

Ted Genoways’s Notes to Self

Land grabs and blood feuds, ambushes and priests on the run: Few periods are as unhinged as the thirty-five years Genoways covers in his current work, a chronicle of the tequila industry that homes in on the period between the beginnings of the Mexican Revolution and World War II. Genoways says that the process of assembling Romo’s story was typical of the research for the book overall. Traditional sources have been spotty at best: Journalistic oppression, by both the government and powerful families, runs deep in Mexico, riddling newspapers with frustrating silences; and decades of political instability meant that official documents were either not kept or destroyed.

Of Movements, Rebellions & Revolutions

A revolution is an opinion that has got its hands on some bayonets. So said Napoleon Bonaparte, who knew about such things. Fair enough: Throughout history, most revolutions have been brought about at the point of a spear or the end of a gun barrel—for, Mohandas Gandhi and Václav Havel notwithstanding, violence often precedes political change.

The Road to Revolution

No one—neither Libyans nor those of who claimed to know Libya well—saw the second revolution coming. For Libyans these daily conversations were a means of moral survival; they never truly believed that the changes of which they dreamt would ever come to pass.

A boy rests under the treads of an Egyptian army tank in Tahrir Square, in downtown Cairo. Protesters gathered there beginning on January 25, 2011, calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled the country unopposed since 1981

The Faces of Tahrir Square

Egyptian protests began on January 25, 2011, spurred in part by the success of protests in Tunisia and brought to a boil by a massive social media campaign. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were so effective in getting Egyptians out onto the streets that Mubarak shut down the Internet. 

The Next Revolution In Scotland

In the heart of downtown Aberdeen, the tea room is the Tastie Tattie Shop. Today's menu features tatties and chili, and the girl I give my order to is wearing a stud in her nose. Aberdeen, the Granite City, looks built to last, but the modern world, disposable like plastic milk cartons, squeezes between cracks in the granite. Across from the cathedral the Upperkrust Katerer has a shocking-pink valence over the store front. At "Marks & Sparks" around the corner, platform shoes and leopard-skin short shorts are on display in the window.