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Omnivore

Taxes, a moral principle

Allison Christians (McGill): Regulating Tax Preparers: A Global Problem for the IRS. Tanina Rostain and Milton C. Regan (Georgetown): The IRS Under Siege. Allen D. Madison (South Dakota): The Futility of Tax Protester Arguments. Scott McLemee reviews American Tax Resisters by Romain D. Huret. For both death and taxes, a moral principle that ought to guide a person’s (or a collective’s) actions has been transmuted into a matter of bureaucratic rule compliance and public relations management.


Paper Trail

The architect Zaha Hadid is suing the New York Review of Books for libel in response to an article by the critic Martin Filler. The article quotes her incorrectly, in such a way that implies that Hadid ignored the deaths of construction workers on a building in Qatar she designed. The building in question was not yet

Syllabi

Weird Sex

Vanessa RovetoThere's good sex and there's bad sex. And then there's weird sex—a Freudian purgatory that somehow neither stimulates the libido nor inhibits it. In art and life, we're inclined to seek out pleasure

Daily Review

Your Face in Mine: A Novel

Row's brilliant new novel pursues a bold and roomy premise: What if you could change your race? Not superficially, with makeup and a wig, but by cosmetic surgery? This book feels new not only because it inverts and biologizes racial passing, but also because it takes seriously the last few decades of identity politics.

Interviews

Yelena Akhtiorskaya

Most extraordinary about Yelena Akhtiorskaya's first novel, Panic in a Suitcase, is the language, which can dive in and out of the consciousness of multiple characters in the space of a sentence. Akhtiorskaya writes about Russian immigrants who fail to fully embrace their new country. Often, they dream about returning, or at least about taking a vacation.

Miscellaneous

Whatever Happened to St. Petersburg?

Greg Afinogenov

Catriona Kelly’s Petersburg: Shadows of the Past takes the city’s marginal and offbeat local culture not as a fall from grace but as an opportunity. Despite its foreboding subtitle, the book ventures into this least heroic period of the city’s life—from 1945 to the present—with the briskness of a government inspector.

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