The New Yorker

Articles from Vol. 81, No. 27, 2005

A Cloud of Dust; Books
A number of readers, including this one, had a problem with E. L. Doctorow's best-known and best-selling novel, "Ragtime" (1975). Brilliantly written in a ricky-ticky ragtime prose, the book not only mingled the American celebrities of 1902 (Harry Houdini,...
Briefly Noted
Desertion, by Abdulrazak Gurnah (Pantheon; $23). At the heart of this novel, by a writer who has been nominated for the Booker Prize, is an Arabian-inspired tale of two pairs of lovers in the perilous ethnic and political landscapes of East Africa. In...
HOME ALONE; UPTOWN Series: 6/6
We finished boarding up the house on Sunday, the day before the expected hit, and my husband, Joe, prepared the attic with tarps and Visqueen in the hope of directing water leaks through the old slate roof into a copper cistern that hasn't had any use...
IN THE RUINS; COMMENT Series: 1/6
New Orleans is an affront to nature, and nature isn't shy about reminding New Orleans of it. Lots of other places are affronts to nature, too, but, if they are in the United States, they usually have the hermetically sealed feeling of high-rise beachfront...
ON THE ROOF; CENTER CITY Series: 5/6
The two families shared a one-story house on South Prieur Street with one good job among them. Thirteen-year-old Timesha Johnson and twelve-year-old Irelle Guidry might have been sisters, with their identically red-tipped cornrows and denim miniskirts....
Partners; the Current Cinema
One way or another, sex is always in the head. It's clear from the opening gag of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" that Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell), the gentle fellow who finds himself in so unhappy a state in early middle age, is not impotent. Anything but....
Peculiar Institutions; a Reporter at Large
Brown University looks at the slave traders in its past.On May 14, 1770, John Brown laid the foundation stone for Rhode Island College, on a hill overlooking Providence and Narragansett Bay. According to the Providence Gazette, "a Number of Gentlemen,...
Perry St; Tables for Two
176 Perry St. (212-352-1900)-- Inside Jean-Georges Vongerichten's latest venture, which anchors the middle tower of Richard Meier's glass-sheathed celebrity housing projects on the West Side Highway, the most prominent features are load-bearing concrete...
PORCH DUTY; REPORT FROM CARROLLTON Series: 3/6
From the front porch of his rather grand house on South Carrollton Avenue--which had suddenly become Pontchartrain lakefront, even if the lake here was a foot deep and toxic--the world looked pretty damned stupid to H. J. (Pepper) Bosworth, Jr., last...
Rolling Back the Years
Though promotional copy suggests that the title of the Rolling Stones' twenty-fifth studio album, "A Bigger Bang" (Virgin), was inspired by the band's "fascination with the scientific theory about the origin of the universe," almost every song deals...
Stealing Time; the Sporting Scene
One summer night not long ago, Rickey Henderson, the greatest base stealer and lead-off hitter in baseball history, stood in a dugout, pinching the front of his jersey and plucking it several inches from his chest--"peacocking," as some players call...
Swing Shift; Annals of Law
Few Justices in recent history have arrived at the Supreme Court from a more provincial background than Anthony Kennedy. Before he moved to Washington, seventeen years ago, his professional life had been spent almost entirely in Sacramento. He was born...
The Cellular Church; Letter from Saddleback
On the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Saddleback Church, Rick Warren hired the Anaheim Angels' baseball stadium. He wanted to address his entire congregation at once, and there was no way to fit everyone in at Saddleback, where the crowds...
The Moviegoer; a Critic at Large
In late 1995, Susan Sontag, a devoted and often impassioned moviegoer, sorrowfully summed up the state of the art. "A Century of Cinema," an essay written for the Frankfurter Rundschau, and reprinted (in abridged form) in the Times, was an outraged lamentation...
THE SUNKEN CITY; ARCHIVES Series: 4/6
(From "The Control of Nature: Atchafalaya" which ran in the issue of February 23, 1987.)New Orleans, surrounded by levees, is emplaced between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi like a broad shallow bowl. Nowhere is New Orleans higher than the river's...
UNDER WATER; THE WHITE HOUSE Series: 2/6
One of the creepier vanities of most political leaders is the private yearning to be tested on a historical scale. Bill Clinton used to confide that, no matter what else he did as President, without a major war to fight he could never join the ranks...
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