The staff outdid themselves for the 90th anniversary issue with substantial profiles of a string of extraordinary people:
- “Holy Writ,” in which longtime New Yorker copy editor Mary Norris reveals the inner workings of the New Yorker’s famous copy desk;
- “The Cabaret Beat,” Ian Frazier on an early New Yorker star I’d never heard of named Ellin Mackay, who pretty much retired from writing her Jazz Age dispatches when she married Irving Berlin;
- “The Shape of Things to Come,” very long and fascinating piece by Ian Parker about Apple’s chief designer Jonathan Ive;
- “The Unravelling,” Jon Lee Anderson’s report on Libyan general Khalifa Haftar that leaves you with the impression that that country is, for the foreseeable future, as hopelessly fucked as Syria is;
- “Brother from Another Mother,” a terrific reporting piece about the comedy team Key and Peele by novelist Zadie Smith; and
- “Look Again,” literary critic James Wood’s piece about a writer named Edith Pearlman, who is unknown to me but apparently has been writing amazing short stories for decades.
And following a curious and yet sensible new publishing fashion, the New Yorker commissioned nine different covers and, rather than anointing one, published them all. My subscriber copy came with three, and the rest are easily visible online or on the iPad app. Here are my two favorites, by Carter Goodrich and Anita Kunz: