Did you do your taxes? In Souvankham Thammavongsa’s new fiction for The Paris Review, a woman loses her job of 15 years and enrolls in classes at a tax-prep company. Although she is more of a humanities person, the numbers make sense to her; tax returns, she discovers, are all about people. “The tax return,” she thinks, “is, in some ways, a record of truth. People give you what they have. Or, at least, you count on that.” Required reading for anyone who’s ever had a meltdown in an accountant’s office.
In October 2011, Hannah Gersen convincingly argued that the Occupy Wall Street protests bore more than a few similarities to Bartleby, The Scrivener. Now, amid the political demonstrations going on throughout Turkey, Millions contributor Kaya Genç draws a similar parallel between Istanbul’s “Standing Man” and Herman Melville’s famous protagonist.
“After scanning across this listing while doing cursory research for something else, I instantly became obsessed with the idea of the zebra skin in the library. What, exactly, did it look like? How was it stored amongst his papers? Why had he owned it? What was it doing in the special collections of an academic library?” On looking through the archives of William Gaddis.
“Publishing is also an industry that selectively values a kind of swaggering authenticity that would never capitulate to demands for something so banal as being nice. But authenticity is too often a short hand for callous, aloof, or honest for the purpose of cruelty rather than truth-seeking.” Alana Massey writes about the “niceness” of publishing.
The Nation expends about 7,500 words to say Malcolm Gladwell is a hack. The source of the umbrage: “a cheerful, conversational voice deployed in a perfectly paced dopamine prose that had the palliative effect of nullifying whatever concerns readers might have about this product or that problem.”
From The Things They Carried to Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, veteran literary fiction has always been popular, yet women are almost nowhere to be found in war literature. At The New York Times, Cara Hoffman argues that leaving women out of combat literature makes returning from war even more isolating. “They would be made visible if we could read stories that would allow us to understand that women kill in combat and lose friends and long to see their children and partners at home.”