Posts Tagged ‘monuments’


Monday, March 19th, 2012

Thrifty readers! I’m really happy to report that two of the Turkey-related stories I wrote for the New Yorker are now available for free! Click here to read about Neolithic man, here for restaurant criticism, and here to buy this man a sandwich:


“Information must belong to the people!”


Sunday, December 25th, 2011

After working hard in my office until relatively late at night, I was walking home and listening to NPR podcasts when I noticed, standing under a streetlamp, what I initially mistook for a motionless child in a snowsuit, and then thought was a snowman, and finally identified, using the ace recognition skills I bring to my work at the New Yorker and elsewhere, as an ithyphallic monument. Here is the video I resourcefully made using my iPod:

I guess it goes to show that, if you put in the hours, you will see results.

Merry Christmas to all my diligent readers!


Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Dear readers! I am happy to relate that my article on Göbekli Tepe is on (U.S.) newsstands right now, in the December 19 – 26 issue of the New Yorker.

As a special online supplement, I have decided to share with you today a glimpse into the writer-editor negotiating process (a recurring theme in my life and thoughts). I submit for your consideration an excerpt from an email in which my super-heroic editor was trying to get me to cut some lines that he said were confusing (he was right, they were confusing):

… Do you think you could reconsider on this last matter? I did everything else… and, by way of compromise, restoring the balance back toward subjectivity and misreading, I’ve added back a penis joke elsewhere! The one about the samovar… x L

This kind and tactful message really made me think about how I am perceived as a writer, viz. as someone who is always trying to include more penis jokes. It’s not an unjust perception. My first New Yorker piece this year, a profile of Istanbul football fanatics, referenced a penis-related viral video phenomenon; next I wrote a rather melancholy excursus on birdwatching in Kars, which nonetheless included a lighthearted mention of the duck holding the highest vertebrate penis-to-body-length ratio.



Saturday, September 17th, 2011

A shout-out to Sabri Gürses, Turkish translator of The Possessed, who found some time during a translation conference at Tolstoy’s ancestral estate to take these beautiful pictures!


Volkonsky House, where I too spent many interesting hours…


Ecinniler cimende



Friday, September 16th, 2011

Because of my great love of monuments, I was really touched to read about the Isaac Babel monument unveiled last week in Odessa.  It represents Babel seated on some steps, a moderate distance away from a large enigmatic wheel.

Новый Регион: В Одессе открыли памятник Бабелю

According to sculptor Georgii Frangulyan, the steps represent Babel’s front stoop, and also the famous Potemkin stairs.

The wheel represents the tachanka wheels in Red Cavalry, the wheels of Mendel Krik’s horse cart in the Odessa Stories, the wheel of fate, the Red Wheel, and the wheel of history that ran off the track and crushed the writer.