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Examined Life
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Essays by

Ben Jeffery

Ben Jeffery is a writer living in Chicago. His latest book is Anti-Matter: Michel Houellebecq and Depressive Realism.

What Was Possible

Tariq Goddard is an English writer and publisher. Along with the late cultural theorist Mark Fisher (1968-2017) and others, he launched Zero Books in 2009, […]

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The Souls of Yellow Folk

Toward the back of Wesley Yang’s new collection of essays, The Souls of Yellow Folk, is a treatment of Neil Strauss’s book The Game. Published […]

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The Sting of Knowledge

Mladen Dolar is a senior research fellow in the department of philosophy at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, and a writer on a huge array of cultural topics.

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After the Flood

Robinson describes Housekeeping as a Western—and in fact all of her novels can be thought of as reconfigured members of that tradition, outlaw stories moved from the nineteenth-century borderlands to the notionally stable Union of the 1950s. Like many Westerns, the four books revolve around questions of kinship. But their relocation in time from an “open” country to a “finished” one is symbolic, because the questions they ask aren’t typically to do with the creation of new communities but with what loyalty to an old and limited—and possibly dying—home might entail.

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Foes of God

It wouldn’t be absurd to describe Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis as the most prescient American novel of the last fifteen years. Published in 2003, it’s a […]

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An Interview with Simon Reynolds

Simon Reynolds is a music critic whose seventh book, Retromania, was published in 2011. Reynolds’s first book, Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock (1990), celebrated late-Eighties […]

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Out with the New

I’ve had a feeling for several years now—the best way I can describe it is as a vague sense of cultural weightlessness, the impression that while there’s an overwhelming amount of high-quality art out there to enjoy, there’s also something terribly insubstantial about it, taken in sum.

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Soccer and Schizophrenia

For the last year and a half, I’ve been living in a flat in central London with no internet or TV, which means I’ve been […]

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Hard Feelings

Michel Houellebecq has published four novels, all of them bitter and miserable. Their pessimism isn’t the only thing to them, or necessarily the most important thing, but it is probably the first that you’ll notice.

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