The Torturer

CO-WRITTEN WITH JULIANO FIORI People say that this guy isn’t a concrete threat, said “Raíssa Leal, a 25-year-old student, as she left another event and headed home to her favela community in Jacarepaguá. “But his supporters are.” Indianara Siqueira, a veteran transgender rights activist attending a recent protest, reeled off a list of incidents she’d […]

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Sergio de la Pava – Lost Empress

American mass-incarceration is the most overt object of the ‘protest’ of this novel’s subtitle. The author, Sergio De La Pava, works as a public defender in New York City, and calls on an intimate secondhand knowledge of the many different sorrows to be found in the ripples of a single criminal case. But Lost Empress is also […]

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Sly Jazz

The National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, in Upstate New York, lays out the sport’s history like an allegory of the long American century, its tragedies and glories. A gallery with the feel of a mausoleum enshrines the finest 1 per cent of players. They came from farms and small towns and urban slums, […]

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The Secret Base

“So amazing that we’re ordering hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of new airplanes for the Air Force,” Trump said at a public military briefing in Hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico last October. “You can’t see it,” he claimed of the F-35, an extraordinarily costly and glitch-ridden project. “You literally can’t see it. So it’s hard to fight […]

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Cynthia Ozick – Letters of Intent

Ozick was born in 1928, when the milk in her native Bronx was still delivered by horse and cart. Her father owned a drugstore, which “seemed one of the world’s permanent institutions. Who could have imagined that it would one day vanish into an aisle in the supermarket. . .?” The twenty-first century is largely absent […]

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The Wall

At the south-east edge of San Diego, a lonely district dominated by cross-border trucking abruptly gives way to desert scrubland. Three layers of fence abutting the Mexican city of Tijuana become two; if you follow a dirt road east for a mile, the second fence of steel mesh also ends, leaving just the original eight-foot […]

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Juan Villoro – The Reef

Juan Villoro’s first work of fiction to be translated into English, The Guilty (2015), features seven short stories narrated by seven middle-aged men. The men are all very tired: jaded, often reduced by past or dormant addictions, or physically injured in ways both mundane and dramatic (a past-it journeyman footballer’s “body isn’t normal, it’s a kicked-in lump”, […]

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