NONFICTION

Christopher Thornton’s Global Spotlight: Letter from Addis Ababa

We were packed into the back of a crowded minibus somewhere on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, heading in the direction of Lake Kuriftu and the city of Debre Zeyit, which hugs its shoreline.

Christopher Thornton’s Global Spotlight: Letter from New Delhi

The Lessons of Connaught Place: Rarely does a work of architecture represent something so different from what was intended.

Whipping Up a Feast in the House of Grief

When the R.N. at the nursing home told me Mother might die any day, I hit the Emily Dickinson hard, even keeping a collection of her poetry open on the kitchen counter for easy access.

Persona Non Grata: Globetrotting in the Security Age

Every summer, the beginning of travel season, I become apprehensive. I’m not afraid of flying. I take five or six trips a year by air, both short hops and long-haul flights that cross half a dozen time zones. I’m apprehensive because I don’t live in the United States, and travel in the summer typically...

Amulets of Mars

Onto the thick, red, dead sands of Mars, the Mars rover imprinted the signature of life. Across the ripples of sand, miles of ripples laid out by the wind, ripples that curved and curved in and out and were never straight for long, ripples that were not smiles or frowns but merely the face of...

The Understory of the One-Eyed Deer

It was the left eye that wasn’t. Just fine fur, smooth, a faint black scrape of a stitch line where the lower eyelid would have been. The skin blinked, an uncanny movement suggesting eye muscles with no eye to roll.

Christopher Thornton’s Global Spotlight: Letter from India

The Illusion of Security—and the Security of Illusion A few months ago I took the train from New Delhi to Agra, India, and lived to tell the tale (or write about it, in this case).

Christopher Thornton’s Global Spotlight: Letter From Tehran

The View from Valiasr: To travel the length of Valiasr Street is to experience the undercurrent of a society that few media reports attempt to reveal.

Christopher Thornton’s Global Spotlight: Letter From Lisbon

West Meets East: This story begins where it ends, as it should, because it has something to say about the often circular nature of experience and the lesson we might learn—if we pay attention.

Flawed Dreams and the Morning After: Letter from Dubai

It wasn’t so long ago—just a few short years, it’s so easy to forget—that the “Dubai boom” was in full swing. Arabs in other parts of the Middle East were still bearing the weight of corrupt, autocratic regimes, but in Dubai, construction sites pounded away late into the night; housing prices, which once seemed to...

Forgive Us Our Skins . . .

. . . Reflections on Humanity, Mortality, and Small, Plastic Food-Storage Containers My father is dying. He is elderly and is dying gently. I live in his house, along with my two sons, whom I raise by myself. By gently I do not mean quietly. My father has gotten very loud in his leaving. He...