Things American: Writers Remember James Salter


American novelist, story writer, and screenwriter James Salter died on June 19th, leaving behind a body of work that presents a vision of a century in dramatic motion. He was a writer of the quotidian and a craftsman of the first water whose interest in sensory experiences is most evident in his arresting narrative passages.

Things American: Baltimore Authors Respond to the Death of Freddie Gray


Baltimore’s bus benches are simple, utilitarian things: just two molded concrete end-pieces and seven wooden planks that you wouldn’t think much of were it not for the slogan embossed on the slats of the backrest: “Baltimore: The Greatest City in America.” […]

Things American: Control Magic


It’s 7 A.M. on a Saturday in October 2012. I’m twenty-eight-years-old and yelling “Idiot,” “Fucking terrible,” and “What were you thinking?” into my steering wheel. I’m driving home from Time Warp Comics, where I’ve just lost a Magic tournament. And not just lost, but lost lost: eighteenth out of twenty-five at the midnight release for the newest set, Return to Ravnica. […]

Things American: The Boys Of My Youth (Baseball Seasons 1989-2014)


“Baseball breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in spring when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings. And then as soon as the chill rains come it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone, when you need it most.”—A. Bartlett Giamatti […]

Things American: Nic Pizzolatto’s Women Before True Detective


In honor of all of the breathless praise accompanying the release of HBO’s new crime noir series True Detective, The Atlantic is urging readers to revisit two short stories by Nicolas Pizzolatto, the show’s creator. The stories appeared in the magazine ten years ago, when Pizzolatto was an MFA student at the University of Arkansas […]

Things American: Authentic Desire & the Root of Sexuality in HBO’s “Girls”


What if I said I do not believe in desire? As the holidays wind down, and with them the inundation of images of midnight smooches on New Year’s Eve and nuclear families unwrapping presents by the tree, I am always left with that seasonal-depression-idea that I’ve somehow failed to live up to the status quo—those unreachable expectations. […]

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