Some amazing stuff, starting with the cover, a characteristically dense, witty Bruce McCall special called “A Greener, Greater New York” (see above). Four pieces stand out for me in particular:
* Leo Carey’s biographical essay on Stefan Zweig, the once-famous Austrian writer and biographer whose name I’ve heard but never knew much about (he and his second wife committed suicide together in Brazil in 1942, in despair over the future of Europe);
* Alice Munro’s “Amundsen,” long, slow, and satisfying as her stories usually are;
* Jon Lee Anderson’s harrowing “Letter from Syria” (I hope he didn’t have to witness first-hand all the brutality he reports in the story); and most of all,
* “Altered States,” Oliver Sacks’s astonishingly candid Personal History essay (an excerpt from his forthcoming book Hallucinations) about his personal use of LSD, peyote, morphine, amphetamines, and other recreational drugs, which ranged from loosely controlled scientific research to the kind of self-isolating absorption that worried his closest friends.