“Stranger Things 2” is a triumphant return to Hawkins

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ALMOST the instant “Stranger Things” was released last year, the baying of fans desperate for the next instalment was ear-splitting. Hopes are so high for the second season—all nine episodes of which were released on Netflix on October 27th—that disappointment seems almost inevitable. But fans can breathe easy: “Stranger Things 2” lives up to its predecessor.

What made the first season such a tour de force was the quality of its storytelling: Matt and Ross Duffer, the show’s creators, had viewers convulsively grabbing their chair arms from the opening scene. The pace of the second season starts slow, but this is no bad thing. The predominant setting (and virtually a character in itself) is still Hawkins, the fictional Indiana town where, despite the presence of a secretive and sinister government lab, it felt as if nothing ever happened. Now, of course, stranger things have happened, and the town’s residents are trying their best to put all that behind them and get on with their…Continue reading

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Personal pronouns are changing fast

NOT so long ago a man could be jailed in Texas for sex with another man. In 2015 a county clerk in Kentucky was jailed for refusing to certify the marriage of two men. Gay rights in America proceeded at an extraordinary rate between Lawrence v Texas (2003), in which …

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Giorgio Vasari, the man who created art history

Vasari made craftsmen into stars The Collector of Lives: Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art. By Ingrid Rowland and Noah Charney. Norton; 432 pages; $29.95 and £23.99. TOWARDS the end of his life Michelangelo Buonarroti, the most famous artist of the Italian Renaissance, began burning his drawings. He did …

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Esther Kinsky muses on a river in England

Esther Kinsky goes with history’s flow River. By Esther Kinsky. Translated by Iain Galbraith. Fitzcarraldo; 368 pages; £12.99. To be published in America this autumn by Transit Books. IN HER post-war childhood beside the Rhine, the narrator of Esther Kinsky’s third novel learns that “every river is a border.” Flowing …