by William Harris

The Plains – Gerald Murnane

In the absence of scene, ideas take over – invented bibliographies, doctrinal disputes, theories of time, schools of mapmaking – but always with a physical backdrop, an illuminated library row or looming landscape.

On Avant Museology

We are caught in a loop, and the museum, tasked with preserving history, is instead watching while history leaks and circles around maddeningly.

Rem Koolhaas and Hal Foster – Junkspace/Running Room

Junkspace appears to be a concept, but it’s not, really; it’s more a slogan, one meant to umbrella over every bit of architecture.

The Vegetarian – Han Kang

Is The Vegetarian, devastating as it doubtlessly is, funny? The question feels almost perverse to ask, but only because the novel begins in the brilliant tradition of high, scrambling Kafkaesque comedy and then turns sharply away.

Beauty Is A Wound – Eka Kurniawan

The concern takes us back to the original question: genre-based marketing labels risk reducing the individuality of books and flattening them into kitsch. But I’d like, hesitantly, to argue back: isn’t this only true if we think of magic realism as an ossified thing?

Iowa, The Middle of Nothingness

I even wonder if, among white people, the vague myth of Iowa as representative isn’t a national delusion.

The Collapse of the Ancien in Thailand

When thinking about Thailand’s next act, about the royal drama revolving around the banished-capitalist Thaksin and the prince, I couldn’t lose the image of Falstaff and Prince Hal.

The True Nature of The 52 Places to Go in 2015

52 places to travel in a world that’s turned into what the architect Rem Koolhaas called junkspace.

Smog, a Tragicomedy

I’ve found a certain willingness to carry on talking about smog. It’s not quite the weather, and yet it is, and it’s at once more innocent and existential than debating politics.

The Expats

It’s hard as an expat to see your own special mix of blundering and privilege and not think of it as grotesque comedy, but it’s also hard, for me at least, to figure out where to live.