Andrew Purcell

Andrew Purcell has written 259 posts for Andrew Purcell

New York empties its jails

If the city can close Rikers Island, and crime rates stay low, the empty jail complex will stand as a monument to the mass incarceration era in New York, and perhaps even signify the beginning of a more rational, humane approach to criminal justice in the country as a whole.

All woman: Natalie’s story

The next time I saw Natalie, she was unconscious in the operating theatre, on her back with her legs in stirrups, like a woman about to give birth. It occurred to me that she was being reborn: the chill and the bright lights reminded me of when I last wore hospital scrubs, to see my youngest son delivered by caesarian section.

Meryl Streep’s “me too” moment

Liz Hannah wrote The Post’s script last year, in the anticipation that Hillary Clinton would soon be the USA’s first female president. When voters elected a man credibly accused of sexual assault by a dozen women instead, and later, Harvey Weinstein was exposed as a serial sexual predator, seemingly enabled in his depravity by half of Hollywood, the movie acquired a new and unintended resonance.

Steven Spielberg: selling The Post in a post-truth era

Spielberg’s film is a stirring defence of the media’s role in a democratic society. “The free press is a crusader for truth. To me that’s just a fact, not a partisan perception,” he says. The Oscar judges may agree, but polls consistently show that a majority of Americans, Democrats included, do not.

Where Wild Things linger

Herman, the Alsatian named after Melville, is gone, and strictly speaking, his owner has been dead for five years, too, and can no longer be brought cake or go for a walk in the woods. His friends picture him at the kitchen table making up stories, and refrain from sitting in his seat.

Life and death in Rio’s ‘pacified’ favelas

April was an especially bloody month: seventeen-year old Gustavo Silva was shot dead on his way to work at a bakery, soldier Bruno de Souza bled to death in his own home after being hit by a stray bullet, and thirteen-year-old Paulo Henriques was killed on route to a friend’s house to play video games.

Peter Carey puts Australia on trial

“The landscape of colonialism is very clear in Australia,” Carey says. “There’s the Aboriginal people, and there’s the successes of those of us who’ve discovered that we’re the benefactors of a genocide, which is not exactly a nice thing to wake up to in the morning.”

Manhattan Beach: Jennifer Egan’s deepest dive

“I did not know for sure that I would be able to write a book,” she told me. “I felt like I was faking it, and that was really unpleasant. There was so much I didn’t know.”

An afternoon with Joyce Carol Oates

“I’m much more politicised than I had been. Immediately all I can do is send out tweets,” she says. “I think novels have to be timeless.”

“Most art is a conversation starter. This is revolution.”

To describe a production as “life-changing” is cliche, but in this case, appropriate. At least one couple got married and had a baby after meeting at the show. Another couple realised they no longer loved each other and got a divorce. “People have changed their genders, people have quit their jobs, and it’s just because we’ve taken the time to hang out with them,” Mac says.