The Paris Review

Staff Picks: Strip Clubs, Lightning Rods, and Extramarital Affairs

On WednesdayAnne Boyer received a 2018 Whiting Award for poetry and nonfiction. On the same day, shut in by the storm, with only my apartment’s clanging radiators for company, I dove into A Handbook of Disappointed Fate, Boyer’s forthcoming book of essays from Ugly Duckling Presse. From the first paragraph of the first essay, simply titled “No,” I was thoroughly captivated by Boyer’s language. Her prose is lyric and smooth. There is nothing labored about her discourse, which is conversational but incisive and often accompanied by a satisfying dose of arch humor. Two examples of Boyer’s particular genius are “Click-Bait Thanatos” and “The Harm.” The former is speculative and considers the eerie technological landscape left behind in a world no longer populated by humans; the latter is a meditation on trauma and how it occupies a person’s consciousness and daily life. Boyer’s essays are best experienced alongside one another; I suggest doing so in the thick of a snowstorm, but I suspect their impact would be equally forceful in any weather. —Lauren Kane

This past , I sat in my lottery-won onstage seats. It’s up until , and if you like musicals (as everyone should), you’ll want to catch it in this intimate setting before it inevitably moves on to a huge Broadway stage. With book and lyrics by the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes—whose previous works include and

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