My slowly emerging view of Harper's Magazine is a good one. While NEWSWEEK has turned into an unholy marriage of Cosmo and People, and Atlantic Monthly seems headed toward being a blog-like argue-fest, Harper's mixes in-depth reportage (are you listening, Tina Brown?), whimsical asides, decent book reviews, fiction and memoir. Can't beat that.
The August 2012 issue includes a memoir, "Breeds of America," by William Melvin Kelley, which speaks presciently enough to the multulturalism that's been present in the U.S. for ages. Kelley's story goes back a few decades to a time when his own multicultural presence (he calls himself Creole) had him simplistically labeled black - with all the double standards that suggests.
And the issue's fiction piece, "Jonas Chan," by Hanna Pylvainen, builds on the same theme: a kid of Chinese heritage trying to fit in with other melting pot types. I'm usually not wild about ethnic fiction, since it's oft-times published in mags only to showcase fiction by emerging minority writers, and the stories seem to have questionable literary merit. In this case, the story is well built, its voice consistent, and done in the memoir style that Harper's seems to prefer.
Causes Bob Mustin Supports
Native American culture. Education. Creative writing.