LARB Quarterly

LARB Quarterly, no. 40: Water

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No. 40: Water

LARB Quarterly is our signature print magazine featuring original fiction, essays, and poetry. Water is the fourth and final installment in our “Elemental Year” collection.

In this issue

No. 40: Water | Letter from the Editor

Dear Reader,

The so-called futurists say it’s going to come down to water. That in the not-so-distant future, wars will be fought over it. Corporations will privatize it, armed men will guard it, and it will be rationed and hoarded and poisoned and purified until the last bit has evaporated. Of course, wars have already been waged both on the oceans and under them, and the location and scarcity of water has dictated the course of industrial and agricultural development. Before there were lush golf courses off the Las Vegas Strip and Miami penthouses underwritten for flood insurance, it was a trade route, a refuge, a venue for myth. Dams, aqueducts, “witches” bobbing lifelessly.

In the 40th issue of the LARB Quarterly, our writers, artists, and poets use water as a prism through which we can more clearly see our human habits and the planet they destroy. When we’re not fixating on water as a finite commodity, we see instead the ocean’s vastness, as Terry Nguyen alludes to in her essay on the color blue. Dorie Chevlen finds Sisyphus at the laundromat, the gray water pumping through endless spin cycles, and in a diaristic piece about the ebb and flow of wealth from generation to generation and paycheck to paycheck, Jayson Buford evokes the cliché about the man who spends his money like water. And in her short story, “Analysis,” Olivia Heal wades through water that “pulls what it has gathered with it as it runs out, as if the tide has a purpose.”

The cover image is taken from Electrical Gaza, Rosalind Nashashibi’s 2015 film, which captures moments of stillness that she witnessed the year prior, just before the violence that erupted that July. The frame in question sees women and children bathing in the sea—with one gaze pointed straight back at the observer.



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