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For pure reading pleasure ‘The Testaments’, Margaret Atwood’s long-awaited sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” lives up to every bit of the considerable pre-publication hype. Atwood’s original dystopian novel, published in 1985, ends like a Cold War thriller: the main character, Offred, escapes from Gilead, the Christian theocracy where as a “Handmaid” she is held in […]

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The narrator of Sheila Heti’s new novel Motherhood is in an agony of doubt. She’s in her late thirties. Does she or doesn’t she want a child? Why can’t she make this life decision? When she thinks of having a baby she balks. She’s afraid of giving up her freedom, and besides, how could she […]

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A truck, a Paris street, an absent-minded philosopher. On February 25, 1980, these disparate objects collided and fused into biographical fact: the semiotician Roland Barthes stepped off a curb near his Left Bank office and was hit by a laundry van. He died a month later in a Paris hospital. For the resourceful French novelist […]

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While pregnant, Camille T. Dungy fears isolation and estrangement: “I felt sure that the woman I’d worked thirty-six years to become would be pushed aside by someone else.” Yet when this poet, professor, public speaker, and holder of advanced degrees becomes a mother, she welcomes her altered identity. Motherhood, she says in her new essay […]

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