How to Prepare for a Stock Market Surprise


The markets have been fairly calm lately. But when financial stress returns, will you be prepared? We offer a classic solution, as well as market insight and analysis, in our quarterly report on investing.

CreditLeigh Guldig
Jeff Sommer

When you consider how sharply stocks declined early in 2018 and how many problems still appear to be lurking around the world, the peaceful state of financial markets over the last few months has been nothing short of remarkable.

The second quarter wasn’t spectacular for stocks in the United States, but it produced solid returns with relatively little volatility. Stocks elsewhere around the world didn’t fare quite as well and the bond market gave up ground, but for the most part, investors had some very welcome breathing room.

Still, it’s a good bet that difficult times will return to financial markets at some point, so this may be good moment to prepare for a future shock. In our quarterly report on investing, we’ve analyzed one time-tested approach: the balanced fund.

Our survey includes articles with reporting on where the markets have been and analysis that suggests where they may be heading. Our selection also provides an introduction to investing. And we hope that at least some of these articles will entertain you as well.

Fiction: Competing Scientists Plus a High-Stakes University Lab Equals Murder


GIVE ME YOUR HAND
By Megan Abbott
352pp. Little Brown. $26

At the heart of Megan Abbott’s new novel is blood. A lot of it. Heart’s blood. Arterial blood. Animal blood. And, most of all, menstrual blood — a subject that many writers would shy away from, but which Abbott examines in all its messy, hormonal, misunderstood complexity.

The protagonist of “Give Me Your Hand” is Kit Owens, a scientist working in the cutthroat world of academic postdoctoral research. If academia is a pyramid, postdocs are at the bottom; Kit is uncomfortably aware that she has limited time to prove her worth and amass enough high-profile research to attain her own lab. The first researcher into the lab every morning and the last out at night, Kit is not just hungry for professional success, she is voracious for it.

Abbott excels in evoking the strange mix of camaraderie and rivalry that exists in academic research, showing the links forged by long hours and proximity as well as the suspicion and desperation that grow like a bacterial culture in competitive environments. “It’s just nature,” Kit remarks to a colleague. “Put animals in a small, closed space, and the one with the sharpest nails, the pointiest teeth wins.”

When Kit’s boss, the brusque and brilliant Dr. Severin, secures a significant grant for her research into a virulent form of PMS — called premenstrual dysphoric disorder — Kit’s co-workers quickly bare their teeth and nails, and tensions in the lab mount to the breaking point. There are only two coveted spots on Severin’s team for this project, and everyone, including Kit, is determined to snag one.

“The truth is, we all know PMDD’s hot stuff. Rumor is Dr. Severin is closing in on something, maybe even approaching something that approaches a cure. A cure, that is, other than having your uterus and ovaries yanked out. A cure for a condition only marginally treatable. … At its worst, it’s led women to self-destructive acts. Or destructive ones. In the lab, we’ve all heard the horror stories: Women in its grip hitting their boyfriends over the head with frying pans. … Road rage, baby shaking, worse.”

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But a spanner is thrown into Kit’s calculations when Dr. Severin recruits a high-flying prodigy to work on the grant, leaving just one slot open. Worse, the new staffer is another woman. For Kit, currently the only female in the lab, this is bad news. “If there was a ‘woman’ spot,” she notes with frustration, “there no longer is.”

However, the real shock is the identity of the new recruit. Diane Fleming is gifted and driven. She is also Kit’s old high school friend and rival, the person whose competitive edge lit in Kit a burning determination to succeed and helped to propel her from academic mediocrity. In many ways Kit knows that she has Diane to thank for what she has attained. But Diane has also provided Kit with a secret that has weighed on her conscience for more than a decade, a secret she has tried and failed to unload several times. The reader knows that it’s only a matter of time before the truth begins to assert itself.

“Don’t we all feel we have something banked down deep inside just waiting for its moment, the slow gathering of hot blood?”

Although at first sight “Give Me Your Hand” looks like a departure from the themes Abbott is best known for — the world of teenage gymnasts in “You Will Know Me” and of cutthroat cheerleaders in “Dare Me”in many ways it’s vintage territory. Female friendship and ambition are threaded throughout her work, and here they form a rich tapestry, as she contrasts the “now” of Kit’s professional life as a postdoc in Dr. Severin’s lab with the “then” of her high school relationship with Diane. The physicality is still there, too, both in Abbott’s descriptive turn of phrase (a mouth is colored “placenta red” with lipstick, a bookmark hangs like a “dark tongue”), and in the shape of Dr. Severin’s work, which delves into the furrows and twists of the human brain.

The mazelike network of loyalties in the lab, the complicated truth of Kit’s own past with Diane, their statuses as women in a male-dominated field — all are masterfully portrayed, as is the scientific endeavor in which Dr. Severin’s team is engaged, to discover why women with extreme PMS commit inexplicable acts of violence and self-sabotage. The motivations of Kit and Diane are sometimes equally opaque. The central mystery of the “then” narrative is convincingly constructed, but some of the actions in the “now” strand are harder to understand. Perhaps, in the end, that’s the point. Like the women in the study, it is the split-second impulses that define them.

Ultimately, though, the reason to read this compelling and hypnotic novel is not the execution of the plot or the sleight-of-hand final revelation. What makes it stand out is Abbott’s expert dissection of women’s friendships and rivalries. She is an investigator of the human heart and mind, and “Give Me Your Hand” is a fine addition to her body of work — one that should cement her position as one of the most intelligent and daring novelists working in the crime genre today.

Losing Yourself in a Good Book


It’s summer. Time to get your read on.

By Kathleen O’Brien

Ms. O’Brien is a staff editor for the Opinion section.

Reading at the Arcachon jetty in southern France.CreditAlex Cretey-Systermans for The New York Times

I am wistful for the days I spent reading as a child: passionate and obsessed, devouring books as fast as I could get my hands on them.

Maybe I read so much as a child because I had so much free time, and so much to learn. As I’ve grown older I’ve become less enchanted with the imaginary worlds of fiction, and more starved for the time and energy to devote to a book. More often I find myself pulling out a device to catch up on the real world, in what seems to be ever-shrinking snippets — articles, status updates, tweets.

But I’ve got a kid-free vacation coming up, and I have proper reading on my to-do list, among other elusive activities. With that in mind, I’ll be checking out the summer reading recommendations from my colleagues in the Book Review — and highlighting some of the pieces from the Opinion section on how we read, and whether it changes us.

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The Port Richmond Library in Staten Island.CreditBrian Driscoll for The New York Times
CreditNina Robinson for The New York Times
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CreditMatt Chase

Nonfiction: In the Middle Class, and Barely Getting By


SQUEEZED
Why Our Families Can’t Afford America
By Alissa Quart
320 pp. Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers. $27.99.

Over the months that I was pregnant, my overriding fear was that I would not be able to afford a child. How much do diapers cost? I asked a friend with a 1-year-old, as if the answer wasn’t online. She couldn’t answer; diapers were just one of countless minor recurring expenses. The cost of child care, however, she could tell me. If it didn’t cost an arm and a leg, it did seem that every month she cut off a finger and a toe and Venmo’d them to her nanny — a payment that despite its size was still inadequate to the importance of the task and to the woman’s skill in doing it. Well, my friend had a job that paid twice as much as mine and could afford it; I would go with day care instead. But day care centers were dear, too. The cheapest I could find charged a finger joint a month. For every minute you were late to pick up your child, an ounce of blood. Operating costs were kept down by letting the toddlers play in a doubtless very stimulating TV-walled closet while the caregiver worked data-entry jobs she found on TaskRabbit to supplement her paycheck, which was more of an honorarium anyway — she did it, it was said, for the kids.

The anxiety of parents like me — educated professionals without many assets to show for it — animates Alissa Quart’s new book, “Squeezed,” a dispiriting survey of the economic stress felt by families who belong to the “Middle Precariat,” as Quart calls the new middle class. As her coinage suggests, this once large swath of the population is narrowing, its members finding their financial situation increasingly tenuous. Much that middle-class professionals took for granted in previous generations, including homeownership, decent health care, a comfortable retirement, is now out of reach. Over the past 20 years, the cost of housing has risen dramatically. The price of health care and college has almost doubled. Meanwhile, wages have stagnated, unions have nearly vanished and, in some sectors, technology has replaced human workers. Many people find themselves carrying school and credit-card debt, and working low-paid, temporary or part-time jobs. Those in certain industries, like tech or finance, are forced to work long hours as a matter of course; others supplement jobs that once upon a time would have been considered full time, such as teaching, with temporary gigs such as driving an Uber.

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Alissa QuartCreditAnn Fox

Quart’s main subject is this generation’s attempts to produce the next. Tight circumstances may be tolerable when no one depends on you; they become quite another matter when you have kids. Among the parents Quart spends time with are an adjunct professor, the single mother of a child with cerebral palsy, who teaches four classes a semester to barely make do; and a nurse whose hospital now uses robots for certain tasks that used to fall into her purview, such as hauling linens. Diligently reporting on the troubles facing “Middle Precariat” families, Quart doesn’t offer much that is news. It is by this point a commonplace that inequality is as bad as it has been in a century, that every sector of the population save the richest is treading water at best.

Nonfiction: The Urbane Bookworm: Robert Gottlieb’s Essays Celebrate Literature, Film Classics and Dance


Another omnibus review, “In the Mood for Love” (originally published in the Book Review), finds Gottlieb measuring the tumescent advances in romance fiction, where swashbuckling euphemisms and maidenly sentiments have been cast aside to make way for the raw mambo. “Bodices no longer need to be ripped — your bosom happily meets his abs halfway.” The amount of dreck Gottlieb must have read to produce a piece so abundant with equanimity beggars the mind. Geniality prevails through “Near-Death Experiences,” at least when it comes to prose merchandise. Nothing here is as barbed with asperity and exasperation as his review of Renata Adler’s “Gone” (reprinted in “Lives and Letters”), in which he corrects the factual errors and misspelled names of her “part wacky, part unpleasant” account of his tenure at The New Yorker.

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As with any assortment pack of articles written for different outlets on different topics, “Near-Death Experiences” rewards dipping in and out rather than chugging straight through. The best pieces — on Wilkie Collins, the demi-divinity Lady Diana Cooper and the histrionic Booth brothers Edwin and John Wilkes — are suffused with bookworm passion and urbane ease, handsomely framed and informatively filled out, rather than crackling with fresh discovery or bold assertion. As a major inside player, Gottlieb is able to identify the hollow core of Boris Kachka’s “Hothouse,” a libido-laced history of the publishing house Farrar, Straus & Giroux: “Kachka really doesn’t grasp what things used to be like in publishing, what the relationships and struggles and personalities were — he lacks context. This is feature journalism masquerading as history.”

Gottlieb never lacks context when it comes to his own pet subjects; it’s at fingertip command. His enthusiasms run to classic Hollywood (appreciations of Mary Astor and that gleaming dolphin, Esther Williams), the halcyon days of old Broadway (the lyricist Lorenz Hart, the bugle-voiced Ethel Merman), the wayward fortunes of American literary figures who once loomed so high (Dorothy Parker, Thomas Wolfe), and midcentury geysers of creative gusto (Leonard Bernstein). One of the running subthemes in the book is the many-splendored ways contemporary movies mangle literature, biography and history, casting the tall “Nicole Kidman at her frostiest” as Thomas Wolfe’s warm, plump lover and muse Aline Bernstein in “Genius”; reducing Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky in the film of the same name to a pair of rutting clotheshorses; and smothering the emotional tempests of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre”: “The new film version of ‘Jane Eyre’ isn’t all bad, but it’s all wrong.”

The cinematic tramplings that bother and bewilder Gottlieb the most are the ones that drag Terpsichore through the back alley. “What did ballet ever do to the world to deserve the way it’s always been represented by writers and filmmakers?” What repulses him about the movie “Black Swan” and the short-lived Starz series “Flesh and Bone” is the garbaging-up of ballet for sado-psychodrama. With its stigmata and stabbing shock-cuts, “Black Swan” is “Grand Guignol with pretensions to class,” and “Flesh and Bone” ups the ante with incest, self-mutilation, Russian mobsters and fancy-ass pole-dancing, reducing the ballerina to a tormented butterfly pinned by the Male Gaze. It’s all agony and no ecstasy, unless death spasms qualify.

Filmmakers who debauch ballet know not what they doeth, but there’s no excuse for those inside the dance world to pimp the notion that ballet is a vale of martyrdom, and not just for the dancers. Heavy hangs the crown on choreographers, too, burdened by the romantic cliché of “the Anguish of the Tormented Artist,” as Gottlieb dubs it in his angry review of Boris Eifman’s biographical ballet “Musagète,” a Ken Russell-size vulgarization of the pre-eminent ballet genius of the 20th century, George Balanchine, which dishonored the stage of the New York City Ballet in 2004. Although Balanchine was among the least anguished and tormented of creative artists, “Eifman’s Balanchine suffers, suffers, suffers,” while a dancer portraying the polio-stricken ballerina Tanaquil LeClerq (Balanchine’s wife) is shown being dragged off the stage on a long piece of black cloth. “People in the audience whom I recognized as old Balanchine hands were gasping in disbelief. … I found it as painful a moment as I’ve ever spent in the theater.” This is a declaration that carries heft since Gottlieb has been parking his seat at New York City Ballet since 1948 (70 years on the beat!), watching, reviewing, kibitzing at intermission and serving for a time on the company’s board. (See “My New York Ballet” in “Lives and Letters” for the full history.)

Books of The Times: Stepping Out of Character and Starting a New Story


“Why not steal a fish from the market to make you bolder?”

That’s the unconventional advice a doctor in southern Spain gives to Sofia, the young anthropologist who is the hero of Deborah Levy’s amazing novel “Hot Milk” (2016). Sofia has decided to lean into her life. With luck she will also stay out of jail.

The result is one of the more memorable scenes in recent fiction.

Sofia goes to a fish market. She debates pilfering a monkfish or some “whiskery langoustines” before deciding on a fish with furious eyes, “a plump dorado in a rage.”

She purloins it. She gets it home and cuts it open. There is so much blood inside that if someone “banged on the door to claim their stolen goods, I would literally have been caught red-handed.”

One absorbs this scene and its instant repercussions and thinks: The next time someone proposes walking across hot coals as an improving ritual, offer as a counterproposal to steal a dorado.

The way to read Levy is in bulk. Her two most recent novels and two memoirs are of a piece. To get the full effect of her elliptical genius, you need to pick them off all at once, the way you would a pint of blueberries or back issues of The Sewanee Review.

These four books together don’t make a tall stack. The total page count is less than that of a typical volume in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle” series.

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Deborah LevyCreditSheila Burnett

You should read them together because Levy permits a number of resonant themes and images, melodies and countermelodies, to course through all four of these books. These images overlap as if in waking dreams.

There are unhappily chained or caged animals; there are stinging creatures (bees and jellyfish); there are odd moments of social discomposure, from attending an important meeting with muddy leaves in one’s hair to accidentally leaving your shirt unbuttoned.

There is a longing for sun and southern climates. There are sick mothers and absent fathers. People are asked to read things they are not certain they want to read. Words are inked onto hands and other unusual places. There is a sense — Rachel Cusk, a writer whom Levy resembles, also takes up this idea — that humans (and especially men) are abysmal at asking other humans questions.

There are shocking moments related to food. In “The Cost of Living,” Levy bicycles home with a book by Freud and a whole chicken in her bag. When the bag splits open, a car runs over and flattens her chicken.

Levy genially serves it for dinner anyway to a friend, her own daughter and some of her daughter’s friends. This is horrifying until one considers the benefits of extreme spatchcocking.

“The Cost of Living” is about how Levy escaped a suffocating marriage and, at roughly age 50, began to take herself seriously as an artist and as an individual soul. “What would it cost to step out of character and stop the story?” she asks.

After her separation, she moves with her children to a cold and somewhat shabby apartment to begin life anew. She has nowhere to write and she has deep money woes, but she learns the most primal of literary lessons: “The writing life is mostly about stamina.”

Away from her desk, Levy is interested in “creating a persona that was braver than I actually felt.” She says: “It is so hard to claim our desires and so much more relaxing to mock them.” She further wants, to steal a line from an Elizabeth Hardwick novel, “love and alcohol and clothes on the floor.”

The essayist in her has a good deal to say about female experience. “It was possible that femininity, as I had been taught it, had come to an end,” she writes. “Femininity, as a cultural personality, was no longer expressive for me. It was obvious that femininity, as written by men and performed by women, was the exhausted phantom that still haunted the early 21st century.”

Levy leans on her themes more heavily in her memoirs than she does in her novels. If I were forced at gunpoint to select just two of her most recent four books, I’d take the fiction.

But so many minor moments of quotidian grace and wit also filter through “The Cost of Living” — while she is discussing melons or plumbing or garden writing sheds — that it is always a pleasure to consume.

She isn’t collecting her thoughts here so much as she is purposefully discollecting them. Calm and order, she suggests, are vastly overrated.

Nonfiction: Woodrow Wilson Achieved a Lot. So Why Is He So Scorned?


THE MORALIST
Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made
By Patricia O’Toole
Illustrated. 636 pp. Simon & Schuster. $35

Historical memory has not been kind to Woodrow Wilson. No other president who accomplished so much has so few latter-day admirers. He established the Federal Reserve, signed a major antitrust law, initiated the modern income tax and led the nation to victory in World War I. Wilson was also the first Democrat to win two consecutive terms in the White House since Andrew Jackson.

But conservatives scorn him for aligning his party with organized labor and starting the administrative state. And leftists and libertarians condemn him for establishing conscription and signing the Espionage and Sedition Acts that essentially made all vocal opposition to the nation’s war with Germany illegal. Pretty much everyone reviles Wilson, who grew up in the South, for allowing cabinet secretaries to segregate their departments and for sponsoring a screening of “The Birth of a Nation” at a time when the N.A.A.C.P. was staging protests against D. W. Griffith’s unashamedly racist, if brilliantly directed, film.

Even the 28th president’s futile campaign to persuade the Senate to ratify the Paris peace treaty with its provision for a League of Nations now seems the act of an ailing man unwilling to forge a compromise with his Republican critics instead of a courageous attempt to establish a new world order to keep the peace. As Patricia O’Toole remarks in “The Moralist,” her new biography of Wilson, “The remains of his presidency have yet to find repose.”

Most biographers, by nature an empathetic lot, have sought to explain Wilson’s feats and flaws rather than to justify or disdain them. Some, like Arthur S. Link and John Milton Cooper Jr., focus on Wilson’s struggle to reconcile his scholarly ideals with the exigencies of partisan and global combat. Others, like A. Scott Berg, dwell on the complex psychology of a leader in whom a great passion for and loyalty to his intimates mixed with an intense hatred of anyone who crossed him. In what may be the most brutal analysis ever written about the man, Sigmund Freud and William Bullitt, a former diplomat, depicted Wilson as a religious fanatic whose inability to resolve his simultaneous love and resentment toward his father, a learned Presbyterian clergyman, led him to misjudge both his wartime allies and his adversaries in Congress.

O’Toole, who has written biographies of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Adams, mostly avoids using Wilson’s career to teach a contemporary political lesson or to judge whether his personality got in the way of his statesmanship. “The Moralist” is primarily a tale about the public deeds of a public man, sprinkled with perceptive observations about his two marriages and chronic infirmities. O’Toole moves briskly through the 56 years of his prepresidential life in a mere 61 pages, then gives scant attention to his domestic accomplishments. She devotes the bulk of her text to Wilson’s actions during the war and its immediate aftermath.

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O’Toole is a gifted narrator with a knack for illuminating the significance of well-known people and events. She captures what each Allied leader wanted to achieve at the Paris peace conference without losing sight of the future they were arguing about. The French prime minister Georges Clemenceau, a veteran of partisan combat who was then in his late 70s, was, she writes, “a firm believer in the supremacy of military force” who nevertheless cleverly advocated for the League of Nations that his American counterpart ardently desired: “The boss of the global ward meeting had merely struck a pose in order to do the very thing he claimed not to be doing: impose the will of the Great Powers on the rest of the world.”

To explain why Wilson refused at first to visit the ruined battlefields of northern France, she cites his boyhood memory of witnessing the devastation left by Sherman’s march to the sea during the Civil War. “I don’t want to get mad over here,” the president confessed, “because I think there ought to be one person at that peace table who isn’t mad.” It’s a pleasure to read such a smart and lucid presentation of so critical an aspect of the global past.

However, O’Toole deploys her literary skills in the service of a history both familiar and rather old-fashioned. There is nothing of significance in her book that the small army of Wilson biographers and scholars of the Progressive era have not been narrating and chewing over since his death in 1924. And, aside from insightful portraits of Wilson’s two beloved wives, O’Toole’s gaze is fixed throughout on the president and other famous and powerful politicians. Absent are the opinions and deeds of the voters and political activists who compelled Wilson to grapple with the issues of corporate power and the decision to go to war that defined his presidency.

In particular, she neglects the large and influential peace coalition that opposed expanding the Army to prepare for combat and then, despite state repression, mobilized against the intervention in Europe once it occurred. A mass of previously “isolationist” Americans did not, as O’Toole implies, suddenly line up behind the president once he changed his mind about neutrality and asked Congress to take the nation into what was then the bloodiest war in history. As Wilson was well aware, the early 20th century was a period of intense social and political conflicts in every region and in all types of communities. But O’Toole is concerned only with the men at the top.

Neither does her narrative really support the title she chose. Wilson was indeed a man of profound convictions — about the functions of government, the responsibilities of citizens, the supremacy of white people. He was certain that he was doing the work of the Lord. Yet, as O’Toole herself describes him, Wilson was also a shrewd politician, deft at shifting his views and reshaping his policies in order to gain power and be able to do important things with it. A rigorous “moralist” would not have persuaded William Jennings Bryan, whose unyielding populist creed he privately ridiculed, to take the job of secretary of state and then shut him out of key diplomatic decisions. Neither does O’Toole give more than cursory attention to Wilson’s religious views, which always framed his sense of the ethical. The theology of a man who considered his Calvinist father “the finest of all his teachers” deserves more scrutiny.

At the end of her biography, O’Toole makes a brief attempt to rescue Wilson from what the great British historian E. P. Thompson once called the “enormous condescension of posterity.” We still live, she claims, in “the Wilsonian century.” Despite the recoil from international cooperation practiced by the current resident of the White House and his fellow right-wing nationalists abroad, Wilson “turned out to be right about the central fact of life in a world of global markets, global finance, instant communication and the possibility of instant annihilation: Withdrawal is impossible.”

But his crushing failure to get the peace treaty through the Senate a century ago suggests a less sanguine view. Most Americans soured on Wilson’s world-saving mission soon after the Great War ended and have only briefly embraced updated versions of it since — during the early Cold War and after the attacks of Sept. 11. Perhaps that helps explain why Wilson ranks so low on the current roster of favored presidents. His great ideal was not just defeated; it was never all that popular to begin with.

Lens: The Transformative Nature of the Photographs of Diane Arbus


Lens

Diane Arbus’s portfolio “A Box of Ten Photographs” was pivotal in the acceptance of photography by the art world. A book published by Aperture and the Smithsonian American Art Museum examines the portfolio and its impact.

“Boy with a straw hat waiting to march in a pro-war parade, N.Y.C. 1967.”CreditThe Estate of Diane Arbus
James Estrin

John P. Jacob first saw Diane Arbus’s work in 1980 while taking a college photo class to help him in his chosen career of architectural preservation. The effect of her images was so powerful that he dreamed about them every night for the next week. He then decided to dedicate his life to photography, eventually becoming the curator of photography at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Neil Selkirk was a young photographer assisting Richard Avedon on a portrait shoot of Anjelica Huston at her father’s London apartment when he first encountered one of Ms. Arbus’s images on the wall. He was unaware of her at the time — 1969 — but he was “completely devastated” by the image of three overweight nude people in a field. It transformed how he looked at the world.

Her images brought Mr. Jacob and Mr. Selkirk together in the making of “Diane Arbus: A Box of Ten Photographs,” published recently by Aperture and the Smithsonian American Art Museum to accompany an exhibition at the museum. Mr. Jacob wrote the essay for the book and curated the exhibition, which runs through January. Mr. Selkirk, who is the only person to have printed Ms. Arbus’s negatives since her death in 1971, was a source for Mr. Jacob.

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“A woman with her baby monkey, N.J. 1971.”CreditThe Estate of Diane Arbus

The book recreates the experience of Ms. Arbus’s limited edition portfolio, “A Box of Ten Photographs,” which she began in 1969.

Housed in a clear Plexiglass container, the original portfolios included 16 x 20 inch black-and-white prints, separated by Vellum sheets with Ms. Arbus’s handwritten descriptions of her subjects. The photos included some of her best-known images, like the identical twin girls, the Jewish giant and a young man in curlers. The portfolio was a limited edition of 50, but she had printed only eight and sold four before her death. Mr. Selkirk printed the remaining editions for her estate.

Although Ms. Arbus is among the most famous photographers of the 20th century and many of her images are familiar, Mr. Jacob said her work was still difficult to encounter. It’s not because her subjects included people on society’s margins, but because we approach them burdened by the details of her troubled life and suicide at the age of 48.

An original portfolio.CreditThe Estate of Diane Arbus

“It’s hard to really see Diane Arbus’s work because of all of the baggage we carry with it,” Mr. Jacob said. “The book and show are about really looking and reexperiencing the pictures that we know really, really well but remain unfamiliar with in some way.”

The original portfolio was priced at $1,000, a somewhat outrageous amount because no real market for photographs existed and prints by the biggest names routinely sold for less than $100. But it was pivotal to the recognition of photography as a valid and viable art form, Mr. Jacob said.

In May 1971 she became the first photographer to be featured in the prestigious Art Forum magazine. Philip Leider, the magazine’s editor, was unsure if photography merited coverage, but when he saw the portfolio he decided to publish it and put Ms. Arbus’s photo of a boy in a straw hat at a pro-war parade on the cover.

She died two months later.

Diane Arbus at a Rhode Island School of Design seminar in 1970.CreditStephen A. Frank, Courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery

He knows her negatives better than anyone and he said they provide important insights about her intent.

From the Art Forum issue that featured 5 images from “A Box of Ten Photographs.”CreditThe Estate of Diane Arbus

“She had a staggering independence from all the conventions and was oblivious to everything that the vast majority of photographers took for granted,” he explained.

By using contrast she “gleefully” suppressed details in pictures that most photographers struggled to show, he added.

Mr. Selkirk painstakingly reproduced her complicated developing and printing methods, including her different ways of presenting the border of her images. While she pioneered the use of irregular black borders around the edges of images, for the box of 10 photographs she placed cardboard pieces over the negative in the enlarger to make fuzzy borders that seemed to dissolve into the paper’s white areas.

In more than four decades since Mr. Selkirk first encountered Ms. Arbus’s work, he has become intimately familiar with the images that pushed the boundaries of social convention and forged a place for her — and her medium — in the art world.

“The whole thing was about her wanting you to see, to share her experience of the moment and the significance of what she had witnessed, and that was a just completely different approach from any other photographer I’d ever been aware of,” Mr. Selkirk said. “They’re trying to make a picture. She couldn’t give a damn about that as the motivating idea. It was to present a document of something she had experienced.”

Profile: Surfer, Environmentalist, Novelist. Australia’s Living Legend.


For almost three decades, Mr. Winton has taken care not to divulge where he lives. Largely, this is so that his three children and wife of 36 years, Denise, could “have a normal life” — something that extends now to his two grandchildren.

Mr. Winton is cognizant of his near celebrity status in a country that rarely lionizes its literary authors. Yet he has carved a voice that is uniquely Australian, finding poetry and an austere beauty in local vernacular and landscape. As Mr. Baker put it at the premiere, his is a celebration of “Australian plain-speak.”

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“The Shepherd’s Hut” is no different. A fable about acceptance and forgiveness, teenager Jaxie Clackton is a victim of domestic violence. Orphaned when his father dies, and afraid he’ll be blamed, he flees on foot from his small town to the northern wheat belt. In a desperate quest that mirrors both “Huckleberry Finn” and the knights from the tales of King Arthur, he must overcome physical deprivation to reach the girl he loves. Along the way, he finds a different intimacy: friendship with exiled Irish priest Fintan MacGillis who lives in a shepherd’s hut with only the kangaroos for company.

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Sonny Figueroa/The New York Times

Most of Mr. Winton’s books have been set along the wild coastline, which he calls home, or the suburbs of waterside Perth, where he grew up. “The Shepherd’s Hut” takes place far from the ocean, in Western Australia’s vast interior saltlands where “the dirt was baked hard” and the earth is all “salt bush and low mulga, red dirt and pebbles.”

Jaxie Clackton, too, is a boy hardened: a kid with an “elbows-out walk like a scorpion all burred up for a fight.” Mr. Winton initially tried writing “The Shepherd’s Hut” from multiple perspectives, predicting scant sympathy for the “foul-mouthed hypermasculine” Jaxie. Looking back, he sees this aborted dilution of Jaxie’s voice, which now dominates the novel, as “a failure of nerve,” he said. Writers need “to take risks and to do stuff that is awkward.”

Over a meal of fish and wine, Mr. Winton is soft and modest, if shy. He clasps his hands as he talks, peppers his conversation with “mate,” and rarely makes eye contact. With his long hair cascading down his shoulders he comes across as a faintly disheveled surfer dude for whom, refreshingly, airs and graces don’t matter. (When I ask what he is wearing to the movie premiere, he gives a bemused shrug, points to his blue T-shirt and replies, “this?”)

Raised in a working-class evangelical Christian family, Mr. Winton was the first of his close kin to ever finish high school (some of his relatives remain functionally illiterate). Reading became a form of “transport, in almost that religious sense,” he said.

Today Mr. Winton is no longer the “God botherer I was,” but he still counts himself as a Christian of sorts. “I’m tired of all the cataloging and all the hair splitting,” he sighed. “For me, if it’s not about love, if it’s not about mercy, if it’s not about kindness, if it’s not about liberation then I’m just not that interested.”

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Mr. Winton worries about the toxic masculinity among boys. Many of his books highlight what he calls “the secret, deep hurting cause of men.”

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Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

Many of Mr. Winton’s books highlight what he calls “the secret, deep hurting cause of men.” It is a subject matter that has touched a nerve: When he is out surfing, boys have paddled up, bashfully, to confide his books “had spoken to them and for them.”

In a recent public talk held in Sydney, Mr. Winton tackled a larger problem: “the terror generated by toxic masculinity.” “I worry about our revulsion for them, our desire to banish them,” he said. “Boys need help. And men need fixing. I’m mindful of that.”

When asked to expand, Mr. Winton provides an analogy: All children are born with a rich palette of colored pencils. By the time many boys reach 18, however, they are so emotionally stunted they only have brown, black and purple left. They’re living a “monochrome life and they don’t even realize they’re colorblind.”

Toxic masculinity, Mr. Winton argued, mutates in settler societies; it is no accident that in “The Shepherd’s Hut” Jaxie is referred to as a “wild colonial boy.” Enclosing his fist into a tight ball, Mr. Winton stated: “You show up, you seize” and “you dig in, you enclose, you consolidate, you defend.”

Such settler instinct vanquished not just Australia’s indigenous peoples, but the very land itself, Mr. Winton asserted. Alongside his wife, Denise, a nurse turned marine scientist, the couple are staunch environmental activists.

In March, Mr. Winton donated 15,000 Australian dollars, or $11,350, in prize money for his memoir “The Boy Behind the Curtain” toward the protection of Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef. “Eyrie,” his 2013 novel about an alcoholic environmental activist, was conceived when Mr. Winton witnessed activists beaten down like “returned veterans.”

That Mr. Winton can use his own vibrant palette of pencils to fight back, depicting Australia in all its raw, unvarnished ugliness and beauty, makes him rich, he believes, despite his modest upbringing. “The Shepherd’s Hut” in many ways is a nod toward those boys he grew up with who have no similar luxury.

“Such a narrow lexicon, range of words, strong feelings with no way of expressing them except with their fists,” he said. “That’s poverty.”

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The Best of Anthony Bourdain


What to read, what to watch and what to listen to by and about the chef, TV host and author who died on Friday.

Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi, Vietnam, in May 2016.CreditWilliam Mebane

The chef, television host and author Anthony Bourdain died on Friday at 61. CNN, the network on which his TV show “Parts Unknown” aired, said that he killed himself in a hotel in France, where he was working on an episode. He has left his mark in restaurant kitchens and libraries — both fiction and nonfiction. And as The Times obituary said, “as an author and then a host,” he had redefined “the staid genres of food writing and food-tourism shows with an inquisitive but rebellious image that endeared him to fellow chefs, restaurant-goers and travelers.”

Here is what to read, what to watch and what to listen to by and about Anthony Bourdain.

In His Own Words

The New Yorker

In his famous 1999 New Yorker piece about what really goes on in restaurant kitchens, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” Bourdain warned readers, “If you are one of those people who cringe at the thought of strangers fondling your food, you shouldn’t go out to eat … By the time a three-star crew has finished carving and arranging your saddle of monkfish with dried cherries and wild-herb-infused nage into a Parthenon or a Space Needle, it’s had dozens of sweaty fingers all over it.”

Read “Don’t Eat Before Reading This”


The New York Times

Shortly after the publication of his 2000 memoir, “Kitchen Confidential,” The Times spent an evening in the kitchen with Bourdain at his restaurant, Les Halles. “People ask us to do some pretty ugly things to the food,” he admitted. “But I don’t throw plates any more. I don’t try to make people cry any more.”

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Anthony Bourdain during his time on the Travel Channel and the last season of “No Reservations.”CreditTravel Channel

‘Parts Unknown’

Bourdain’s travel and food show, currently in its 11th season on CNN, has been a cultural force since its inception, winning five Emmys and a Peabody Award so far. (Eight seasons are available right now on Netflix.) The series uses food as an entryway to nuanced conversations with people across the world about their politics, their daily lives, their hopes and fears, and there is seemingly nowhere “Parts” hasn’t explored — including Myanmar in the early 2010s, as well as countries and regions like Gaza and the West Bank and Iran, offering local perspectives rarely seen on Western TV. The show’s punk stylings, the obvious delight Bourdain takes in eating with Michelin star chefs and roadside food vendors alike, and the show’s diverse array of special guests (President Barack Obama, Iggy Pop and the director Darren Aronofsky are just a few) combine to make “Parts” a thoughtful and exciting world tour.


‘No Reservations’

“No Reservations” is where Bourdain’s TV career really took off. The show debuted on the Travel Channel in 2005, showcasing Bourdain’s signature curiosity, swagger and lyricism. As food- and travel-blogging exploded, “No Reservations” became the gold standard for thoughtful adventure — and because the Travel Channel felt awfully obscure, the show sometimes felt like a hip secret. That secret got out in 2006, when Bourdain and his crew got stuck in Beirut during an armed conflict; that episode is among the show’s most interesting because it’s the exact opposite of other lifestyle shows. “No Reservations” went on to 12 Emmy nominations (and two wins). The show is available for purchase on Amazon.


‘The Mind of a Chef’

Bourdain produced and narrated this brainier, more personal approach to the shameless pleasures of food porn. Still, he kept himself mostly out of the spotlight, training it instead on a rotating cast of Michelin-approved chefs and restaurateurs as they explained their relationships to specific foods or regions. In one installment, the Momofuku mastermind David Chang effuses about his lifelong passion for ramen; in another, the British virtuoso April Bloomfield gives a survey of bangers and mash. It’s a light and positive celebration of food and culture — a departure from the quick-cut chaos of such crowd-pleasers as “Iron Chef” or “Chopped” — with fresh insights from authoritative and camera-friendly personalities. The show ran for five seasons on BBC and PBS, which are all available on Netflix. (A sixth aired last year on Facebook Watch.)

Memorable Clips

Sharing a Beer With President Barack Obama

Bourdain was someone everyone wanted to eat with — knowing his enthusiasm could get them into restaurants, and to experience food, they otherwise never would. This was best shown in 2016, when the White House asked if President Barack Obama could eat with him during an official visit to Vietnam.


Cooking Hashish Sweets in Morocco

Bourdain was candid about past drug use, which included cocaine and heroin. He was also unafraid to discuss drugs in his TV show. In this clip from an episode of “Parts Unknown” in Morocco he learned Moroccans make hashish-containing sweets.

“Of course network standards and practices prohibit me from even tasting this delicious and reportedly mind-altering treat,” he said.


Evangelizing for the Waffle House

“An irony free zone where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts,” is how Mr. Bourdain describes Charleston, S.C. “Where everybody regardless of race, creed, color or degree of inebriation is welcome.”

Bourdain was so associated with globe-trotting it is easy to forget his love of the United States’ own cuisine, and it comes across fully in this ode to a waffle house. It is “a beacon of hope and salvation inviting the hungry, the lost, the seriously hammered, all across the South to come inside,” he added.


Giving Insights Into Iran

“Parts Unknown” often felt like a commentary on foreign policy. In this episode in Iran, for instance, Bourdain experiences the country’s hospitality in full force by eating in a family home.

Anthony Bourdain’s death prompted an outpouring of grief and tributes