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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2 Books by César Aira

The Proof, written in 1989, opens with a nerdy 16-year-old girl walking at dusk down a city street thronged with other teenagers. Marcia feels herself slowing down ‘through the soft resistance of the light and darkness, silence and the glances exchanged between face and face’. Suddenly, she is crudely accosted by two lesbian ‘punks’. The […]

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