In this week’s New Yorker

December 31, 2011

The New Year’s issue includes three very different long reporting pieces that I read avidly. I never thought I had any interest in the IFC series Portlandia, but in “Stumptown Girl” Margaret Talbot, excellent writer that she is, succeeded in making it sound … well, more interesting than the small sampling I later tried turned out to be. Mostly, I was interested and entertained by the personality of Carrie Brownstein, whose music with Sleater-Kinney always interested me more in theory than in reality. Rachel Aviv contributes a long, sad, bewildering story about a 14-year-old in prison for life without parole for murdering his beloved grandfather. And then there’s Ariel Levy’s “Letter from Bangalore” about Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the pharmaceutical executive and health-care activist who is the richest woman in India, another peek into a world I would otherwise know nothing about. Mostly, I would love to hear Levy say aloud the name of a physician she interviewed: Dr. Prakash Sankalagere Chikkaputtaswamy.

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