Skip to content

Posts from the ‘The New Yorker’ Category


Cast of Characters: Golden Age of The New Yorker

Wolcott Gibbs, Dorothy Parker, James Thurber

  • Author: T. Vinciguerra
  • Title: Cast of Characters: Golden Age of the New Yorker
  • Published: 2016
  • Trivia: #NonFicNov
  • Trivia: List Reading Challenges 2017



  1. The New Yorker has and still is beyond rivalry to a
  2. position of supremacy among American magazines.
  3. It has attained this  by its the quality of writing.
  4. Of course, aspects of the New Yorker have always irritated people
  5. …its arrogant elegance.
  6. Raymond Chandler wrote:
  7. “Beyond the superficial sophistication the whole attitude of the
  8. New Yorker seems to me to have that same touch
  9. …of under-graduate sarcasm. (Ouch!)  (pg 206)


  1. But I have not lived a day of my life without the magazine.
  2. It was in our house in 1950’s.
  3. I adored the cartoons of Charles Addams as a child.
  4. I am still  addicted to the short fiction and profiles pieces.
  5. Book and movie, theater reviews?
  6. The New Yorker is my ‘first go-to source’.
  7. Hilton Als  is the current theater critic.
  8. He  has been awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
  9. Hilton Als never disappoints
  10. His reviews are literary works of art, magnificiant!
  11. He introduced me to some new  American Theater playwrights
  12. who are  serious, original, and deeply ambitious.
  13. Here are only a few worth reading….
  14. Annie Baker, Thomas Bradshaw, Lucas Hnath, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins,
  15. ,….Richard Maxwell, Sarah Ruhl, and Young Jean Lee.


  1. I have had a subscription to the New Yorker
  2. …for more than 40 years here in The Netherlands.
  3. It is my most treasured ‘link and contact’  to the old country.
  4. I’ve read a biography of Dorothy Parker,
  5. What Fresh Hell is This
  6. Collection of Essays by E.B. White  and
  7. …many books by James Thurber.
  8. But I knew nothing about the abrasive Wolcott Gibbs.
  9. He was the  theater critic from 1938 until his death in 1958.
  10. Wolcott wrote  some of the magazine’s most remembered pieces.
  11. Wolcott Gibbs is by far the central character in this book
  12. .…followed by
  13. E.B. White, James Thurber, A.J. Liebling, Harold Ross, William Shawn
  14. …Charles Addams and Katherine White.
  15. Curiously…there was very little mention of Dorothy Parker
  16. …and Richard Bentley!
  17. If you love the New Yorker this is a …
  18. #MustRead



W. Trevor: The Piano Teacher’s Pupil

  • Author: William Trevor
  • Title: The Piano Teacher’s Pupil
  • Published: 26 June 2107, The New Yorker Magazine
  • #DealMeIn2017  Challenge



  1. Miss Nightingale’s pupil arrives at a critical juncture in her life.
  2. The boy sat behind the piano…she knew she was in the presence of genius.
  3. His music “took her with him into paradise“.
  4. When the boy came for his Friday lesson it was
  5. the “halcyon afternoon at the center of Miss Nightengale’s life.”
  6. But there were also “echos with memories” in the room.


Boy’s influence: 

  1. Distress and bewilderment feed vivid dreams.
  2. She was prey to thoughts she never had before.
  3. In the dark she pushed that all away.
  4. She did not look to see what was no longer there.
  5. taunted by unanswered questions:
  • father’s chocolates way of buying good behavior?
  • father’s devotion inducement to stay with him in the house?
  • father’s devotion is selfishness  dressed-up?
  • lover…had he deceived her as he did his wife?


Epiphany: She had been the victim.

  1. …of the boy – shown off to her his other skill…he could upset her life.
  2. …of herself – shown no emotions, learned to hide her feelings
  3. …of her “careless credulity” – believing in the honesty of others
  4. …of  wanting to believe what seemed to be –
  5. loving father  is in truth a calculating man entrapping her in the home.
  6. devoted lover is in truth a man who belittled love.



  1. All this was true but SOMETHING nagged
  2. ….was that something the truth she will never know?
  3. She felt she deserved to know the truth
  4. …owed to her as a moral obligation.
  5. It seemed a right, almost, that she should understand a little more.”



  1. The boy came back long afterwards…sat and played.
  2. There was mystery in the music.
  3. Miss Nightengale learns that…
  4. …”there was a balance struck…it was enough.”
  5. Miss Nightengale learns that…
  6. …mysteries in life are a marvel in itself.
  7. “She had no rights in this.”
  8. Accept the weaknesses, imperfections
  9. of others…fathers, lovers and pupils.
  10. Relish the love and joy they brought.


Last Thoughts:

  1. William Trevor is by far the master of the short story!
  2. He gives us a portrait of of ordinary people
  3. …lonely, the isolated and often the victims of society.
  4. Thank you Brona’s Books for inspiring me to ready
  5. your favorite short story author!


The New Yorker 24 July 2017

Cover:  “Grounded”  by Barry Blitt

This week we read about  Barry Blitt (1958) . He is a Canadian-born American artist. Blitt creates his works in traditional pen and ink, as well as watercolors.

He won first prize best cover of the year 2006 depicting President Bush being flooded in the Oval Office after Hurricane Katrina It is  entitled “Deluged”  and appeared on the Sept. 19, 2005 issue

President Barack Obama chose one of Blitt’s New Yorker covers to hang in the White House. The cover depicts the President picking the family dog at the same time as he is vetting candidates for his national security cabinet.


I had difficulty reading through this issue of The New Yorker.

It seems my favorite (…perhaps the best) writers are lounging on a beach somewhere.

Fortunately there were three writers  that did capture my attention.

Danielle Allen : Personal Historya political theorist and the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard. Danielle Allen is an academic and gives us a rivieting story about her cousin. “My cousin became a convicted felon in his teens. I tried to make sure he got a second chance. What went wrong?”  This was a very good article about Allen’s struggle to save a beloved cousin from sinking into the swamp of LA South Central criminal world. (photo: Sharon Renee Hartley)

Hua Hsu: Book critic –  contributor to The New Yorker. He is currently an associate professor of English at Vassar College.   This article was very informative…as I did not know much about Bob Marley. He  became a model for how artistic legacy has turned into an industry of its own.

Amazing:  2016, Forbes calculated that Marley’s estate brought in twenty-one million dollars, making him the year’s sixth-highest-earning “dead celebrity,”…”



Hilton Als : Theater critic –  Hilton Als, a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1994, has been awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
Hilton Als never disappoints….his reviews are literary works of art,   magnificiant!
He mentions some American Theater playwrights in this review  who are  serious, original, and deeply ambitious. Perhaps their plays might interest you:
Annie Baker, Thomas Bradshaw, Lucas Hnath, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Richard Maxwell, Sarah Ruhl, and Young Jean Lee.
This week Hilton Als reviews:
Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau is an American playwright.
Morisseau grew up in Detroit, Michigan. Her mother’s family is from Mississippi.
Her father’s family is from Haiti
Morisseau is on the list of Top 20 Most Produced Playwrights
in America 2015–16, with 10 productions of her plays being produced

A mother’s hopes for her son clash with an educational system rigged against him in PIPELINE.  This looks like an explosive play to read or if you are lucky

….to watch at The Lincoln Center in NYC.

This is a deeply moving story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future — without turning her back on the community that made him who he is.

Playwright: Dominique Morisseau      #MustRead play   Pipeline



James Wood:  Book critic – staff writer and book critic at The New Yorker since 2007.

Moving Kings    by  Joshua Cohen

  1. I always look forward to reading book reviews….but cannot for the life of me
  2. ..enjoy James Woods’ comments.
  3. His Book review  lacks a certain sensitivity that makes the article work.
  4. You have to be careful to write at the level of ALL the readers in the audience.
  5. This is not always an easy task.
  6. Unfortunately I went through Woods’ review asking myself:
  7. “Really, what does this mean?
  8. Am I crazy? Why can’t I figure out what this means”
  9. I will close with a few examples of phrases I had difficulty with:
  10. — his fiction displays the stretch marks of its originality
  11. What does this mean? Typical phrase to confuse instead of clarify!
  12. — sentences are loaded with the refuse of the real,
  13. with ….informational surplus of postmodernity. (sigh)
  14. sentence is also a micro-adventure in abundance!
  15. — ..David’s Jewishness has been atavistically reflexive… (hugh?)
  16. –unpersuaded by Cohen’s thematic ambitions, by this stabbing at similitudes
  17. I rest my case.
  18. This is the last review by James Wood I’m ever reading!


Moving Kings

The New Yorker 10 and 17 July 2017

COVER:                       Off the Leash    Dogs are Mark Ulriksen’s  favorite subject to draw!

Who is Mark Ulriksen?

  1. He is  a San Francisco California based artist whose
  2. …work has appeared on the cover of The New Yorker 48 times since 1994.
  3. Ulriksen’s cover for the February 27, 2006 edition of The New Yorker
  4. …won the 2006 an award for Best News Magazine Cover.
  5. The cover is titled Watch Your Back Mountain.
  6. It was prompted by the hunting incident of Vice President Dick Cheney.


  1. The BEST WRITERS   in this issue are:
  2. Hilton Als and book critic Jane Kramer.
  3. Hilton Als : Theater critic
  4. a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1994, has been
  5. ….awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
  6. Jane Kramer: Book critic
  7. a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1964.



  • Hilton Als reviews  Marvin’s Room by S. McPherson and
  • ‘1984’ by G. Orwell (adapted by R. Icke and D. Macmillan)
  • Illustration for ‘Marvin’s Room’ is  wonderful in The New Yorker.
  • Unfortunately the  image cannot be copied so here is the
  • link for  the illustrator’s web site Chris Gash.
  • You can see his illustration there.

Marvin’s Room by Scott McPherson:

  1. The play turns around the characters
  2. dealing literally with confrontations with death at the core of the plot.
  3. The stage  performance is a single set  and an intense evening.
  4. Hilton Als’  review is refreshingly ‘critical’ as
  5. ….opposed to the movie reviews of Anthony Lane. (I don’t read them anymore….)
  6. A well-reviewed TV show, movie or play encourages people to watch it.
  7. But a good production  that appeals to the public
  8. …will generally rake it in at the box office despite evoking critical ire.
  9. So I hope critics keep doing their job…don’t be likeable…be honest.
  10. The play is being staged in the
  11. Roundabout Theatre Company, NYC (June 8 – August 27).
  12. This image is copied from the theater’s website.

  • I discovered two yearly drama awards in this article: THE OUTER CRITIC’S CIRCLE
  • …and the DRAMA DESK AWARDS.
  • If you are looking for a great play to read perhaps you will find
  • …some suggestions from the lists of current and previous winners.

“1984”  playing at The Hudson Theatre Broadway, NYC

  1. Following four wildly successful U.K. runs, the new stage
  2. adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece comes to New York.
  3. R. Icke and D. Macmillan’s  weakness in the adaptation of Orwell’s classic 1949 novel
  4. …and their thoughts how to dramatize it
  5. …resulted in a play that is more than the audience can handle!
  6. This is a measure of our limitation as audience members….not of their talent.


BOOK:        PRUSSIAN BLUE  by Philip Kerr

Jane Kramer: Book critic –  staff writer at The New Yorker since 1964.


  1. Prussian Blue, whose plot takes in high crime, sexual scandal, financial fraud,
  2. methamphetamines, and murder in Hitler’s Alpine dystopia
  3. during the week before the Führer’s fiftieth birthday.
  4. Philip Kerr‘s Bernie Gunther solves crimes for Nazi Germany.
  5. Why do we like him so much?
  6. Bernie  is one of crime fiction’s most satisfying and unlikely survivors:
  7. the good cop in the belly of the Nazi beast.
  8. Since then, Kerr has kept Gunther one step ahead of the Gestapo
  9. —not to mention the Mafia, the
  10. South American diaspora of
  11. death-camp commandants, and the
  12. Stasi—and scrambling for his life in novels that
  13. …cover more than twenty years of mid-twentieth-century German history.
  14. Thrillers are thorny gifts for critics.
  15. With a great thriller, the important thing is to tell the story while
  16. never giving anything away,
  17. certainly not who did it and, in the case of a Gunther thriller
  18. ….densely populated and always dizzyingly complex!
  19. #MustRead !!


Hip-Hop – the rising stars 2017


  1. I have never really listened to hip hop…
  2. …but a lot of people do!
  3. Hiphop is the most listened to genre in the world
  4. …regardless of geography or language


  1. One of the most important hip hop magazines
  2.  XXL  picks the ten rising stars 2017.
  3. Carrie Battan, music critic for The New Yorker
  4. wrote an article describing the XXL Magazine’s
  5. herculean task to get  all ten of  these diva’s
  6. in a group foto before noon. (foto)


  1. Battan’s report in the June 26 2017 issue
  2. ..of  The New Yorker  was hysterical!
  3. I took the time to just listen to what young
  4. …people like when it comes to hip-hop.
  5. Here is my modest evaluation:


  1. Kendrick Lamar – Bah
  2. Future – GOOD…but back round music was better
  3. Chance the Rapper – Bah
  4. Ugly God – S0S0
  5. Oakland rapper Kamaiyah (only female) – GOOD…she made sense.
  6. Beanpole of a rapper named PnB Rock – GOOD…he made sense too.
  7. MadeinTYO (most sociable) – Bah, rap sounds like the needle is stuck on the record, repeats!
  8. Kap G, a lanky Atlanta rapper of Mexican descent – Bah..have no idea what he is saying!
  9. Florida rapper named XXXTentacion—XXX, for short – Bah
  10. d.j. Sonny Digital (most difficult one)  – Bah, he is in a daze when he speaks.
  11. Aminé, an impish rapper from Portland – the BEST…I call it poetic rap, very good!

The clip is 1 min 11 sec….just to give you an impression:




The New Yorker 03 July 2017

Read:  09.07.2017 –  Yes  I did it! Read The New York the same week it arrived!


  1. This week’s cover is by Kadir Nelson.
  2. I think this video clip (5 min) will give you and idea
  3. who the man is behind some of the greatest paintings by an African-American.


Fiction:  Italo Calvino short story “ The Adventure of the Skier

  1. Calvino at the time of his death in 1985  was the most translated contemporary Italian writer.
  2. The collection ‘Difficult Loves’ was first translated in 1985 but
  3. 4 short stories were missing from the original book (1970).
  4. This short story is one of them.
  5. It is published  in this issue of the New Yorker here for the first time in English.


  1. Amit Majmudar: The Beard
  2. Chana Bloch: Dying for Dummies
  3. I will read and review  short story and poems later.
  4. Truth be told…after reading the complete issue I’m
  5. to exhausted to concentrate on  literature (story, poems).


Emily Nussbaum: Television critic – Pulitzer Prize winning critic

  1. Emily Nussbaum (Pulitzer Prize winning TV critic)
  2. Her review of the new series ‘GLOW” and “CLAWS” is fantastic.
  3. She is the best writer in this issue.…no one comes close to her
  4. literary pyrotechnics !


Masha GessenLetter From Moscow Russian/American journalist, author

  1. This is a shocking story about people from Chechnya
  2. who survived detention and torture (gays).
  3. They are now living undercover in Putin’s Russia.
  4. Chechnya is a state within a state, run by Kadyrov,
  5. He is supported by Vladimir Putin.
  6. Kadyrov’s Chechnya is a more extreme version of Russia.


James LasdunAppointment with Death –  British writer, teaches creative writing in NY

  1. Adultery, false identities, and a lethal sedation….
  2. This is a  recap of  a baroque courtroom drama
  3. that unfolded in upstate New York.
  4. The Kingston dentist who was acquitted last year of
  5. …killing his lover’s husband was sentenced on January 31 2017  to a
  6. maximum of seven years in state prison for numerous unrelated charges
  7. Lasdun explains to us the murder…and unrelated charges!
  8. This was an excellent…and very amusing article!
  9. Lasdun writes beautifully, but others have found his books lacking
  10. the qualities readers value most: ability to sustain their interest
  11. for anything longer than a long short story.
  12. Well, at least this short story kept me reading!


Jeffrey ToobinFeeding the Beast – American lawyer, legal analyst The New Yorker.

  1. I just loved this article.
  2. David J. Pecker is the Chairman and CEO of American Media (publisher).
  3. Pecker has been alleged as serving as a sycophant to Donald J. Trump.
  4. Pecker is eager to use his media empire to help his friends,
  5. especially Trump, and unabashedly boasts about doing so.
  6. Pecker’s magazines have no subscribers and is dependant on
  7. ‘impluse’ buyers (325.000 per week)  at the check-out counter.
  8. His most famous tabloid in the National Enquirer.
  9. What sells?
  10. Younger generation looks for:
  11. – Kelly Ripa, Jennifer Aniston, Brad and Angelina. (J-Lo does not sell.)
  12. Older generation looks for:
  13. – Dolly Parton and the Kennedys
  14. Headlines that sell:
  15. …“sad last days” –  “six months to live” – What she’s hiding!” – “Packs on 40 pounds!”
  16. Subjects that sell:  revelations about plastic surgery and a criminal past.


Amy Davidson – Health Care Bill – staff writer 

  1. I try to understand the health care system in America…but fail miserably.
  2. In The Netherlands…Dutch residents are automatically insured by the government.
  3. Everyone has to take out their own basic healthcare insurance.
  4. Those under 18 who are automatically covered under their parents’ premium.
  5. Period.
  6. In America the health care rules  just keeps changing.
  7. Amy Davidson wrote  an article  in this issue
  8. …that I can finally understand. (new health care bills in progress)
  9. The House and the Senate bills both allow the
  10. states to waive the essential-benefit requirements.
  11. In America, the category of the vulnerable is a broad one.
  12. Many  people led middle-class or even affluent lives,
  13. until their savings were consumed by the cost of residential care,
  14. which is not covered by Medicare.
  15. Nearly two-thirds of nursing-home patients are on Medicaid.
  16. This is just the introduction….
  17. …we shall wait and see how the government votes!


Alex Ross: –  Departures….. He is  staff writer for The New Yorker, music critic

  1. Ross recaps the opera season at The Met in New York City.
  2. Sadly I read that one of my favorite singers, Renée Fleming, may soon retire.
  3. I was able to see her once in Londen, what a voice!
  4. Puccini’s Madame Butterfly
  5. ….skin shivers when she hits the high notes!

Opera goers have changed:

  1. Very few voice geeks who could identify transpositions, cuts, and optional high notes.
  2. Rising ticket prices have made habitual attendance harder.
  3. You hear less informed buzz around you.
  4. You see more people sneaking looks at their phones.


Opera The Met (NYC) facts:

  1. Attendance at the Met has been generally poor of late
  2. The Met now brings in only 67% of its potential box-office revenue.  (1990′  was it 90%)
  3. The capacity of The Met 4000 meaning that
  4. to fill the house the Met must sell around  900.000 tickets each season.
  5. The Met is trapped in its behemoth house (Lincoln Center, NYC)
  6. …a relic of a culturally ambitious America that no longer exists.




The New Yorker 26 June 2017

Read:  03.07.2017 –  Yes  I did it! Read The New York the same week it arrived!

Cover:   Man buns have made it to the cover of The New Yorker.

  1. Peter de Sève  is American artist who has worked in the
  2. He received the National Cartoonists Society Magazine Illustration Award for 2000.
  3. Brooklyn’s eccentricities are an endless font of inspiration.
  4. Peter de Sève‘s  covers are often inspired by a person or place a few blocks from his home
  5. ….if not right outside his window


  1. William Trevor’s short story The Piano’s Teacher’s Pupil 
  2. One of the elder statesmen of the Irish literary world.
  3. He is regarded as one of the greatest contemporary writers
  4. of short stories in the English language.
  5. I will review this short story in the coming weeks.
  6. The two poems in this issue deserve more ‘review time.
  7. I will read them later….and post my comments.
  8. “Now We Eat the Dark Vein” poem by James Seay
  9. “Walter” poem by Laurie Eustis
  10. The best writers in this issue were
  11. Emily Nussbaum (Pulitzer Prize winning TV critic) review of  TV series ” I Love Dick”
  12. Carrie Battan (Music critic) Grammy winner  Lorde, New Zealand Ella Yelich-O’Connor.

Jiayang Fan (staff writer)

  1. Gender inequality in China havs created a new industry
  2. China’s marriage crisis gives rise to a new job: the mistress dispeller!
  3. The three hundred employees of Weiqing Group calls itself first professional transnational love hospital!
  4. They are in the business to save a marriage at all costs
  5. …and they charge huge sums of money for this service!
  6. Potential client in-take interview costs  15.000 dollars!

Best illustrator Malika Favre for ‘Letter From Shanghai



Charles McGrath (Book review)  Housman Country: Into the Heart of England (P. Parker)


Alfred Edward Housman (1859 – 1936)  was an English classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad.

Housman found his true vocation in classical studies and treated his poems as secondary. (pendant and poet)  He did not speak about his poetry in public until 1933.  He argued that poetry should appeal to emotions rather than to the intellect.

A Shropshire Lad has never been out of print since it was published, in 1896. Somehow, these sixty-three short lyrics, celebrating youth, loss, and early death. What it feels like to be an emotional adolescent and what it means to be English.

  1. McGrath reveals part of Housman’s charm
  2. is the way he makes that sadness sound and feel so sweet:


Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content.
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.