Fremont, Ohio (CNN)Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan acknowledged protesters outside two events in his home district Monday — a break with many other Capitol Hill colleagues who have largely avoided such scenes — but was met with shouts of disapproval.
The Ohio Republican, a 10-year veteran of the House and one of its most ardent conservatives, spoke with what his staff and protesters estimated were upward of 150 demonstrators in Marion, Ohio, at the historic home of former President Warren G. Harding.
He then headed about an hour north where he talked briefly with a much smaller group of protesters at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library in Fremont, Ohio, before heading into a presidential trivia contest for children (which prompted his former Democratic opponent to claim he was using the kids as “human shields”).
Jordan’s tour of his sprawling Ohio district Monday showed the dilemma for lawmakers eyeing up a repeat of the tea party protests which swept Democrats out of power in Congress in 2010 — but with the fire and the threat coming from the left this time.
And it also shows how deep the anger has bled into staunchly conservative territory. Jordan beat his Democratic opponent 68%-32% last year and President Donald Trump won the district by a similar margin. The first hint of trouble for Republicans came two weeks ago, when Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz was confronted by hundreds of angry protesters at his town hall.
Since then, Republican lawmakers have canceled town halls, while others have split town entirely — heading on Congressional delegation trips to spots like the Mexican border and Europe. Meanwhile, some Republicans have fully embraced the fury: Rep. Mark Sanford huddled hundreds of protesters at his South Carolina town hall this past weekend, even walking outside to address an overflow crowd.
Jordan didn’t give it the “Full Sanford” Monday, but he did attempt some outreach — with varying success.
“They may not agree with me, we may share different perspectives,” Jordan said, as a group of protesters laughed outside the Hayes Library. (“No, we don’t agree with you,” yelled one woman, interrupting Jordan.)
“But they’re allowed under the first amendment to speak up, and my job is to listen and tell them where I’m at,” Jordan said, which resulted in one man mocking him: “Listen and give the party line, no real reasons, no in-depth analysis.”
The sight of hundreds of protesters packed outside the Harding presidential home earlier in the day was compelling enough, Jordan said, for him to take questions from the angry crowd. But protesters claimed they had to force him to address them.
As Harding Home director Sherry Hall attempted to read through a history of Harding from the wraparound porch, with Jordan by her side, angry protesters chanted at the “Stop Reading!” and yelled “Hold a town hall!” according to video of the event taken by one group of protesters.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell implored his Republican colleagues last week to face protesters and address them (even though he isn’t hosting any town halls himself — opting instead for a trio of closed-door fundraisers).
But the House of Representatives’ chief security officer urged House lawmakers to coordinate police protection for their public events while they were back in their home states. (A pair of Fremont police cars pulled up to Jordan’s second event, but the small number of police just watched while a few dozen protesters milled around outside.)
The showdowns are likely to be a common sight this week — with town halls in Arkansas, New Jersey and Florida acting like magnets for irate Democrats and even some independents who stayed out of politics until Trump took the White House.
Cheryl Laugherty, 62, a retired librarian from Fremont, Ohio, said she didn’t get active in protesting until Trump emerged as a force last year. Since his election, she’s been organizing with other women in northwest Ohio, and stood with a small group protesting Jordan in Fremont.
“It’s been off and on through the years, but his (Trump’s) behavior on the campaign trail this year just clinched it for me. I could not tolerate the way, like he made fun of the handicapped columnist, just things he said,” Laugherty said. “And it hasn’t changed, the belittling of people and the nicknames. It’s juvenile. It’s juvenile bullying.”
Jordan said Monday that it’s up to other Republicans to decide what they want to do, but suggested they honor the First Amendment and hear out the protesters. But Laugherty and others gathered outside the Hayes home Monday quickly pointed out that Jordan has yet to schedule any town halls himself.
(CNN)As the Trump administration grapples with the Ninth Circuit’s refusal to reinstate the President’s travel ban, a federal judge across the country dealt another significant blow to the executive order in Virginia late Monday, writing in her opinion: “Maximum power does not mean absolute power.”
US District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema in Virginia granted a modified version of the state’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of the travel ban, finding the state had the ability to sue, “is likely to prevail on the merits” of at least one of its constitutional arguments and the Justice Department would not suffer any harm from imposing the injunction.
The judge declined to issue her injunction on nationwide basis “to avoid any claim that” it is “defective because of overbreadth.”
At the hearing the judge also said that she was moved by a declaration signed by several former senior US officials, including former Secretaries of State John Kerry and Madeleine Albright, in support of a brief filed by the attorneys general of Washington state and Minnesota in the Ninth Circuit appeal.
“We view the (executive) order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States, rather than making us safer,” officials wrote.
“It could do long-term damage to our national security and foreign policy interest, endangering US troops in the field and disrupting counterterrorism and national security partnerships.”
Brinkema said at last Friday’s hearing that the officials’ declaration was “clear as a bell.”
“This is coming from people with first-hand direct knowledge” of national security issues, Brinkema added — whereas the government had failed to offer even a “scintilla of evidence” that counters it.
Brinkema’s written decision on Monday further recounted the public comments made by then-Republican presidential candidate Trump, calling for a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” and more recent statements from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani that Trump wanted to find a way to implement the ban “legally.”
“Defendants have not denied any of these statements or produced any evidence beyond the text of the (executive order) itself, to support their contention that the (executive order) was primarily motivated by national security concerns,” Brinkema explained.
“Defendants have argued that the court may not go beyond the text of the (executive order) in assessing its purpose, or look behind its proffered national security rationale, but the Supreme Court has rejected that position,” she added.
“The evidence in this record focuses on the president’s statements about a ‘Muslim ban’ and the link Giuliani established between those statements and the (executive order),” Brinkema wrote. “Based on that evidence, at this preliminary (stage) of the litigation, the Court finds that the Commonwealth has established a likelihood of success on the merits.”
“I saw this unlawful, unconstitutional, and un-American ban for exactly what it is and I’m glad the Court has, too,” Virginia attorney general Mark Herring said in a statement following Brinkema’s ruling.
Horses are a more popular artistic subject than dogs – that’s one of 10 illuminating facts unearthed by BBC analysis of Art UK’s digital archive, which catalogues more than 200,000 of the nation’s oil paintings.
1. Kew’s forgotten queen is the most prolific female artist
The woman with the most paintings in the collection is the Victorian botanist Marianne North.
Born in 1830, North devoted her life to travelling the world and painting plants.
North had no formal training, according to the Kew website. However, she put her natural talent to “prolific” use on her travels. During an eight-month stay in Brazil, she finished more than 100 paintings. Instead of painting individual plants, her work typically showed landscapes and natural habitats. The Marianne North Gallery contains 833 paintings by the artist, showing more than 900 species of plant.
North approached Kew and offered to build the gallery in return for her life’s work being displayed in it. It opened in 1882.
2. The most painted monarch is Charles I
The Stuart king’s execution in 1649 enshrined his status as an object of fascination for artists. There are more than 200 paintings of Charles in the collection, about 40 more than his son, Charles II, who was restored to the monarchy in 1660.
Andrew Ellis, director of Art UK, said: “It does not surprise me that Charles I is the monarch with the most portraits.
“Not only was he the greatest of royal patrons and collectors of art but he was also keenly interested in how art could promote the image of kingship. Some of the portraits date from after his death including one in King’s Lynn Town Hall, which was the subject of a sonnet written for Art UK by the poet John Fuller.”
We counted up the words used to describe the paintings in the collection. Boat (12th), sailing (14th), mast (16th), ship (17th), wave (18th), sea (22nd), sail (25th) and rigging (42nd) all feature in the top 50.
Pieter van der Merwe, the general editor of the National Maritime Museum, said the emergence of the seascape as an art form in England was imported from the Netherlands in the 17th Century.
“It’s a British taste, but where did we get the taste for maritime art? We did not invent it ourselves, we got it from the Dutch,” he said.
4. A dog is not an artist’s best friend
We may be a nation of dog lovers, but there are more horses than dogs in the collection, according to the list of the most popular tags.
The horse is the most popular animal tag (49th), followed by dog (132nd), bird (138th), cow (140th), sheep (172nd) and fish (200th).
Pictured is the Scottish painter George Harvey’s depiction of a horse from 1836.
Dorchester-born Everett, a well-connected Edwardian, was a graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art who lived his life according to his dual passions – painting and sailing.
His life and work remained relatively unknown until art historian Gwen Yarker began researching his biography.
The majority of his art lies in the storerooms of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, while his landscapes can be viewed at Dorset County Museum.
Ms Yarker said Everett shunned fame, was ambivalent about exhibiting and reluctant to take the limelight.
“Art history has not been kind to him,” she said.
7. At least 1,800 paintings were donated to collections in lieu of tax
Works of art can be handed over instead of inheritance tax.
Under the scheme, the government accepts the item at market value, and hands it over to a public museum or gallery.
8. There are at least 28,000 paintings in the collection where the artist remains unknown
Andrew Ellis said: “We are aware that we are still missing key information for many of the paintings on the site. Who is the artist? Who is the sitter? Where is the landscape?
“The Art Detective sub-site of Art UK is helping to fill in some of this missing information with the incredible help of the general public.”
9. 1910 is slap bang in the middle (But with some caveats)
BBC News examined the dates of the paintings in the collection.
The median year was 1910, meaning half of the paintings we have a creation date for came before that date, and half afterwards.
However, we could only ascertain dates for about half of the 214,000 artworks. Some 74,000 paintings had no year at all, and another 27,000 used either date ranges or other descriptions.
Earlier works are less likely to be dated as record-keeping was poor.
10. The National Trust has the largest collection of oil paintings
Andrew Ellis said: “At the other end of the scale, some 50% of the collections on the site have fewer than 10 paintings.”
What is Art UK?
Art UK’s roots go back to 2002, when a charity, the Public Catalogue Foundation, was founded by Fred Hohler, who was determined to improve the public’s access to the art it owned.
The record started life as a series of hardback colour catalogues on a county-by-county basis.
In 2011, the BBC and Public Catalogue Foundation launched the Your Paintings website to catalogue the collection online. Five years later, this became Art UK.
The website was built with funding from Arts Council England, the Scottish government and a private foundation.
More than 200,000 oil paintings by nearly 40,000 artists are available to view online
The data analysed relates to the artwork in Art UK’s digital archive.
Photo credits for collage picture: City of Edinburgh Council, Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Tate, Jersey Heritage, Budleigh Salterton Town Council, Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage, Ferens Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery
Reporting team: BBC England data unit: Pete Sherlock, Paul Bradshaw
This revolutionary work written by Henry Jamess less famous brother brought a democratising impulse to the realm of religious belief
The United States is a society, first described in Thomas Jeffersons revolutionary words in 1776, that constantly rewrites its narrative in law, philosophy, economics and belief, as well as through poetry, drama and fiction. In moments of change, its finest writers have often found new forms of expression and ideas that both illuminate the American story and help to redefine it.
William James, brother of the more famous Henry, was a classic American intellectual, a brilliant New Englander and renowned pragmatist a celebrity in his time who coined the phrase stream of consciousness. He responded to the cultural and social ferment of the late 19th century with the Gifford lectures, given in Edinburgh during 1900-02. When he turned these talks into a book, James, a Harvard psychologist and the author of The Principles of Psychology, placed himself at the crossroads of psychology and religion to articulate an approach to religious experience that would help liberate the American mind at the beginning of the 20th century from its puritan restrictions by advancing a pluralistic view of belief inspired by American traditions of tolerance. Like his brother, he was obsessed by the problem of expressing individual consciousness through language; this is just one of the principal themes of The Varieties of Religious Experience.
Psychology aside, this is an odd book in many ways, especially for its unorthodox approach to the precepts of organised religion. One commentator has described it as a classic that is too psychological to have shaped most religious inquiry and too religious to have influenced much psychological research. And yet, in the words of Psychology Today, it remains the most notable of all books in the field of the psychology of religion and probably destined to be the most influential book written on religion in the 20th century.
The James family, who were originally Scots-Irish, like many of the first Americans, exerted a powerful influence on William James in the genesis of this text. His father, Henry Snr, was not just an unorthodox Calvinist, he was also (with Emerson and Jung) a disciple of the cult mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, who was determined to find a theory which would explain how matter relates to spirit. Swedenborgs desire to understand the order and purpose of creation had led him to investigate the structure of matter and the process of creation itself: his ambition was intoxicating and his teachings inspired a democratisation of religious impulses that appealed to the unorthodox Jameses, father and son.
The idea that all citizens were equally and independently close to God sponsored among the James family the conviction that religious experience should not become confined within the narrow prison of a denomination. The same irreverence towards categories encouraged William James to adopt a high-low style that gives his writing a fresh and populist character thats rather different from the mature style of his brother the novelist. William used his populism to suggest that any religious experience was true if the consequences of holding it were pleasing to the individual concerned. This restatement of the American pursuit of happiness gave his audiences a new appreciation of human dignity grounded in everyday reality.
In his approach to religious experience, William James writes that he had to face a hard problem: first, to defend experience against philosophy as the real backbone of the worlds religious life; and second, to make the reader believe that [the life of religion] is mankinds most important function.
James begins his argument with the assertion that religion answers basic human needs. From here, he separates belief from its tribal origins. Religion, he says, has become a consumer item for individuals. His only concern about religion is what it tells us about what goes on in the single private man. Then he comes up with a famous definition:
Religion shall mean for us the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine.
Using potted biographies of well-known writers and thinkers, including Tolstoy and John Bunyan, William James concludes a long and fascinating exploration of the healthy mind, the sick soul, and the divided self, with closing chapters on mysticism, saintliness, atonement and conversion. Here, too, he presented an account of God as a finite being, inextricably caught up in world affairs, and linked to human activity and ambitions. He closes with a witty question: Who knows whether the faithfulness of individuals here below to their own poor over-beliefs may not actually help God in turn to be more effectively faithful to his own greater tasks?
A signature sentence
And the moment we renounce the absurd notion that a thing is exploded away as soon as it is classed with others, or its origin is shown; the moment we agree to stand by experimental results and inner quality, in judging of values who does not see that we are likely to ascertain the distinctive significance of religious melancholy and happiness, or of religious trances, far better by comparing them as conscientiously as we can with other varieties of melancholy, happiness, and trance, than by refusing to consider their place in any more general series, and treating them as if they were outside of natures order altogether?
The Mormon church owns vast tracts of US land, and now envisages a huge new city on its Deseret Ranch but at what cost?
Everything about the Deseret cattle and citrus ranch, in central Florida, is massive. The property itself occupies 290,000 acres of land more than nine times the size of San Francisco and almost 20 times the size of Manhattan. It is one of the largest ranches in the country, held by the one of the biggest landowners in the state: the Mormon church.
On an overcast weekday afternoon, Mormon missionaries give tours of the vast estate. Fields, orange trees and grazing animals stretch as far as the eye can see. While central Florida may be best known for Disney World, the ranch roughly an hours drive away is nearly 10 times bigger. It is home to a jaw-dropping 40,000 cows and has grown oranges for millions of glasses of juice.
Now there are ambitious, far-reaching plans to transform much of this land into an entirely new city, home to as many as 500,000 people by 2080. Deseret has said that while nothing will be built here for decades, its plans are necessary because urban growth in the area is inevitable and the alternative is piecemeal development. A slide from a 2014 presentation explains: We think in terms of generations.
The revered producer has been at the centre of pop since the days of Roxy Music. But dont ask him about the past hes more interested in how to reorder society
Brian Enos new album is called Reflection, and what better time to reflect on an astonishing career? Or careers. Theres the first incarnation of Eno as the leopardskin-shirted synth-twiddler who overshadowed the more obviously mannered Bryan Ferry in Roxy Music. With his shoulder-length hair and androgynous beauty, there was something otherworldly about Eno. He was as preposterous as he was cool. So cool that, back then, he didnt bother with a first name.
After two wonderfully adventurous albums he left and Roxy became more conventional. There followed a sustained solo career, starting with the more poppy Here Come the Warm Jets, progressing to the defiant obscurity of his ambient albums and on to commercial Eno, the revered producer behind many of the great Bowie, Talking Heads, U2 and Coldplay records.
There is Eno the visionary, who helped conceive a 10,000-year clock and invented an influential pack of cards called Oblique Strategies that offer creative solutions for people inapickle. There is Eno the visual artist;Eno the activist, tirelessly campaigning for a fairer world; and Eno the philosopher, endlessly thinking of ways in which to bring thisnew world about.
We meet at his studio, near Notting Hill in west London. It is a mix of the minimalist and maximalist. Minimalist in its big white empty spaces, maximalist in the numerous books carefully filed away (library-like sections for African, Asian and European art), old-fashioned hi-fi equipment, a parked bike, and his own Rothko-ish artworks.
Eno, now 68, could not look more different from the louche glamour-puss of the early 70s. As his music became more pared down, so did he. The head was shaved, the makeup washed off and the feather boa dispensed with. Nowadays, he looks like a stylish academic.
His assistant asks me to join Eno athis table. Ill just be 40 seconds, finishing off my lunch, Eno says. He takes a mouthful of fruit salad. Just 30seconds now. There has always been something fastidious about him. His interviews tend to be 45 minutes long precisely. One journalist said that Eno had interrupted their chat to play him an Elvis Presley record that lasted two minutes and seven seconds, and then added two minutes and seven seconds to the interview sothe journalist wouldnt be shortchanged. At the same time, Eno loves to embrace the random. As a producer, he encourages artists to pick up Oblique Strategies cards to alter the path they are taking. Itell him I have brought a pack with me in case we find ourselves struggling. He smiles, flashing a gold tooth. That will be just the job, I should think, he says.
An extremely rare copy of Harry Potter–adjacent book The Tales of Beedle the Bard, handwritten by series author J.K. Rowling herself, sold Tuesday in England for a whopping £370,000 (about $470,000).
If you’re a Potterfile, then you know the significance of the book in the series — and you also know how incredibly cool it is to have a book handwritten by Rowling herself.
A brief recap for Muggles: After Dumbledore’s death, the Hogwarts headmaster bequeathed a first edition of the popular wizarding children’s tales to Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. On the page where the important “Tale of The Three Brothers” began was the mark of the Deathly Hallows — three items that, if used together, could make a wizard a “master of death.”
The bejeweled brown leather book was owned by the publisher who first signed Rowling, Barry Cunningham, and was one of only six copies she had given to people “most closely involved in the Harry Potter books.” Each book is written in Rowling’s hand and includes original illustrations as well.
The inscription on this one-of-a-kind work says: “To Barry, the man who thought an overlong novel about a boy wizard in glasses might just sell… THANK YOU.”.
Some of the proceeds of the book will go to Rowling’s charity, Lumos.
It’s this rule that has allowed Bennett to write her book The Mothers, a moving and beautiful novel that tackles the complex and painful themes of suicide, abortion, religion, family and loss.
The novel begins with Nadia, a girl who, after the death of her mother when she is 17, has a fling with the son of a pastor, gets pregnant and decides to terminate the pregnancy. The story then follows Nadia throughout her life, exploring how the repercussions of that decision effect not only her but also her community and her future relationships.
Join us as we talk to Bennett aboutThe Mothers, finding success at a young age, writing about uncomfortable themes and finding wisdom in literature.
As always, we close the show with recommendations.
Brit recommends Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. “I think it’s so poetic and meditative and beautiful.” She also recommends The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (which was a MashReads book club selection in October). “I thought it was the best book of the year.”
MJ recommends Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. “It’s the first book that I’ve tried to read slowly and savor it. I’ve read her essay ‘How You Get Unstuck‘ so many times, especially this week.”
Also, if you are looking for something new to read, check out our official MashReads November book club selection: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. Yoon will be chatting with MashReads IRL on Nov. 29, at 7:00 p.m. ET, at McNally Jackson in New York City. We hope you can join the discussion. And if you’re looking for more book news, don’t forget to follow MashReads on Facebook and Twitter.
Joness father a schizophrenic who killed himself was a boxer, and arranged lessons for Jones from a young age. When Jones enlisted as a Force Recon Marine in the 1960s, it was a boxing match that prevented him from shipping out to Vietnam with the rest of his platoon, all but one of whom would be killed in action. Instead Jones, badly beaten by a fellow soldier, was discharged from the army with temporal lobe epilepsy the same type of epilepsy it is believed that Dostoevsky suffered from.
A civilian again, Jones enrolled in college, and in the early 1970s took the MFA in creative writing at the Iowa Writers Workshop. He didnt walk straight into a book deal like some of his classmates, however. Instead he became an advertising copywriter, and later a janitor. During the 11 years he was janitor he claims to have read roughly 10,000 books. This was reading that had to be done, he told an interviewer in 1998, and most people working at professional jobs just dont have that kind of leisure. During this period, and up until the mid-1980s, Jones struggled with alcoholism. He developed diabetes, and also suffered from depression. He remained on a lot of medication for the rest of his life, one of numerous biographical facts reflected in his fictional characters, who are among the most frequent pill poppers in literature.
Overcoming his alcohol addiction seemed to be the biggest factor in Jones being able to produce the stories he wrote in the early 1990s. For me it was easy, he said, perhaps disingenuously: Produce a text that was so good, an editor could not reject it. There is another parallel here with Dostoevsky, often referred to in Joness stories. When he was writing The Idiot, a novel whose protagonist, Prince Myshkin, experiences several temporal lobe-type seizures, he explained to a friend why he had abandoned a first draft: I said to hell with it all. I assure you that the novel could have been satisfactory, but I got incredibly fed up with it precisely because of the fact that it was satisfactory and not absolutely good.
Just how easy it was for Jones is debatable, but The Pugilist at Rest was undeniably too good to be rejected. A first-person account of a marine who becomes the sole survivor of an ambush in the Vietnamese DMZ, the story, as with many of Joness stories, powerfully conflates autobiography and fiction, and weaves hypnotically between dramatic scenes and essayistic digressions. Jones uses the image of the Roman statue The Pugilist at Rest, based on an earlier Greek original, as a way in to discussing the marriage of violence and art. He wonders if the statue depicts Theogenes, the greatest boxer in antiquity:
The sort of boxing Theogenes practiced was not like modern-day boxing with those kindergarten Queensberry Rules. The two contestants were not permitted the freedom of a ring. Instead, they were strapped to flat stones, facing each other nose-to-nose. When the signal was given, they would begin hammering each other with fists encased in heavy leather thongs. It was a fight to the death. Fourteen hundred and twenty-five times Theogenes was strapped to the stone and fourteen hundred and twenty-five times he emerged a victor.
The narrator tells us that Theogenes fought at the approximate time of Homer, the greatest poet who ever lived. Then, as now, violence, suffering, and the cheapness of life were the rule. The narrator himself embodies this divide between culture and violence. He quotes Schopenhauer and Dostoevsky, but he also viciously attacks a fellow trainee marine, and later describes the reservoir of malice, poison, and vicious sadism in my soul that poured forth freely in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam.
The central relationship in The Pugilist at Rest, between the narrator and his buddy Jorgesen, is often repeated in Joness work. Its there in the relationship between the young narrator and the boxing trainer and surrogate father Frank Coles in As of July 6, I Am Responsible for No Debts Other Than My Own, and between the boxer Prestone and his alcoholic trainer Moore in Rocket Man, Joness favourite of his own stories. But these man-to-man relationships were not the only ones Jones was interested in. I Want to Live!, selected by John Updike for his Best American Stories of the Century anthology, is a monologue by a woman dying of cancer. A Midnight Clear, one of the pieces Jones described as his nuthouse stories, describes a woman and her stepson going to visit a schizophrenic cousin in the state hospital. 40, Still at Home presents an aging, hypochondriac son tormenting his genuinely sick mother.
Joness legacy, however, will be defined by his Vietnam stories, uncannily authentic-seeming explorations of a reality that he was bound for but never actually experienced. That fact gives an obsessional, guilt-ridden sense to his constant returns to these same characters who, like the soldiers of Tim OBriens The Things They Carried, pass from story to story, a bit part player in one becoming the lead in another.
At the end of The Pugilist at Rest the narrator expresses a sense of guilt that he has taken the credit for killing North Vietnamese soldiers that his dead friend Jorgesen killed. When I think back on it, he writes, my tale probably did not sound as credible as I thought it had at the time. I was only 19 years old and not all that practiced a liar. Are these solely the words of Joness narrator, or do they speak to the misgivings of a writer who was often mistakenly described by reviewers as a Vietnam veteran? A fascinating obsession appears to lie at the heart of Joness fiction, one that generated some of the most visceral acts of imagination of the last 25 years.