Not a lot excited me, aside from Hilton Als’ scathing review of the new revival on Broadway of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. But last week’s issue (cover date January 21) had three strong features:
* David Remnick’s disheartening “Letter from Jerusalem,” about the rise of Israel’s new frightening radical right movement;
* David Owen’s very entertaining story, “The Psychology of Space,” about the Norwegian design firm (Snøhetta, creators of the Oslo Opera House, below) that has been hired to transform Times Square “to reconfigure the space in such a way that city residents will stop walking blocks out of their way to avoid it”;
* “Tasmanian Devil,” Richard Flanagan’s profile of David Walsh, a nutty high-stakes gambler who has sunk a fortune into creating The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) dedicated to artistic representations of sex and death.
I didn’t read James Wood’s review of pseudonymous Italian author Elena Ferrante’s novels but the New Yorker Out Loud podcast made Ferrante sound intriguingly intense — all three of the people talking about her work said there were times when they had to put the books down because they described things that were unbearable to contemplate.