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Madeline Gressel

MADELINE GRESSEL is a writer and journalist currently based at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute in the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program. Formerly the music critic for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, she now focuses on environmental issues and the criminal justice system.

End of an Era

Scientists have increasingly recognized the extent to which all that carbon we’ve been pumping into the atmosphere has inexorably altered the composition and quality of Earth’s ground, sea, and sky. In her fantastic new book, Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey Into the Heart of the Planet We Made, Gaia Vince travels around the globe from South America to Asia to Africa and back again to see how we as a species are adapting, for both good and ill, to the changes we’ve caused.

The Old Familiar Song

In the fifth and final season of The Wire, our antsy, alcoholic anti-hero Detective McNulty gets fed up with all the black bodies—the quietly mounting corpses of young, black victims of murders that will go unsolved. Nobody in Baltimore seems to care that 22 black bodies were found stashed and rotting in the crumbling walls of temporary housing units.


Misery loves company, they say. And it’s true: unhappiness is easier to bear when shared. We spend our lives acting as witnesses to our pain, trying to convince those around us of its heft and actuality.

The Beautiful in Between

A few pages into the poet and critic Maggie Nelson’s new book, The Argonauts, she quotes from Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet’s Dialogues II:“There are no longer binary machines: question-answer, masculine-feminine, man-animal, etc.

The Lonely Hearts Club

With Modern Romance, Ansari seems to want to give us (especially the men among us) a stiff slap on the head and teach us how we can all just get along.

The Secret Life of Everything

I recently saw Carl Safina, the scientist and marine conservationist, speak alongside Isabella Rossellini at 192 Books in Manhattan. Rossellini was interviewing Safina about his new book, Beyond Words, which considers in depth and with great seriousness the question of what animals think and feel.

The Quotidian Ephemera of Women’s Lives

I began reading Elena Ferrante’s so-called “Neapolitan Novels” after a very close friend recommended them to me on the highest possible terms. The friendship that is at the heart of the novels, she told me, reminded her of our own friendship.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues