All posts tagged: Lydia Kiesling’s new novel

Rocking Out on the Campaign Trail

Rocking Out on the Campaign Trail

This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here. Politics is already a performance. Why also sing? First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic: A Risk to Their Dignity Live music has the power to connect, to make people feel. In the hands of politicians, it also has the power to make them cringe. Last weekend, a video went viral of Vivek Ramaswamy, a businessman turned long-shot candidate in the Republican presidential primary, rapping Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” at the Iowa State Fair. (It was not even his first time performing the rap; he reportedly used to bust it out during his student days at Harvard.) In rapping, Ramaswamy joined a long line of political figures who have—at times endearingly, at times bafflingly—performed musical acts. To name a few: Bill Clinton played the saxophone periodically in the 1990s, including a rendition of “My Funny Valentine” at a …

Why Republicans Would Welcome a Biden Challenger

Why Republicans Would Welcome a Biden Challenger

This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here. Some Democrats, echoing GOP narratives about Joe Biden’s age, are invested in the idea of challenging the president’s renomination. But how would that actually work? First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic: An Invitation to Chaos You may have heard the news recently that President Joe Biden is old. This has been a rumor whispered in the hallways of power for some time now, but apparently it’s true. Some Democrats, including Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota, think this means Biden should step aside. “We’re at grave risk of another Trump presidency,” Phillips said recently. “I’m doing this to prevent a return of Donald Trump to the White House.” And by “this,” Phillips means going public with his concerns, and even possibly running against Biden—which isn’t much of a threat, given that Phillips is not exactly a first-tier …

A Novel That Forces Readers to Look in the Mirror

A Novel That Forces Readers to Look in the Mirror

“Thinking ecologically about global warming requires a kind of mental upgrade,” Timothy Morton, the environmental philosopher, has written, “to cope with something that is so big and so powerful that until now we had no real word for it.” In 2008, Morton tried to invent one: hyperobject. The term doesn’t necessarily connote a value judgment, that this enormous thing is good or bad, but simply that in its hugeness it is inescapable, like air. To wrap one’s mind around the idea of a hyperobject is to accept that we, humans, “can’t jump out of the universe.” And according to Morton, being able to acknowledge the scale of a phenomenon as all-encompassing as, say, climate change, to name it, might be the first step toward actually doing something about it. Hyperobjects abound in our globalized world: the internet, fast fashion, microplastics—things that cannot easily be measured using a single metric. A character in Lydia Kiesling’s new novel, Mobility, tries to explain the concept and lands on this: “It’s something so big and sticky with so many …