This month, we are lucky to publish a new piece by acclaimed writer and filmmaker David Bezmozgis, which appears in issue 2 of Tablet’s print magazine. Titled “Immigrant City,” it’s a perfect example of a feature that we think will soon become a reader favorite: “Aggadah.” Just as in the collection of Jewish exegetical texts by that name, this slot will present pieces without revealing whether they’re fiction or non-fiction. Legal requirements permitting, the editors may not even know.
One of the downsides of the crowdsource mentality of the Internet is that it prizes facts over truth—a gotcha culture in which good writers, culture-makers and even politicians are regularly pilloried for stray inaccuracies, while blinkered simpletons who know how to use Google become viewed as trusted voices. What often gets lost is the real story—and its relevance for our lives. To push back against this, and maybe even undo some of the damage it’s done to us as readers, this column asks us to engage with a given text without having our anxiety about its factuality quelled—to absorb it and let it do whatever work its going to do, without unnecessary crutches or defenses.
If you’re up for the challenge, there may be no better place to start than with Bezmozgis’ story—as his own mother’s response underscores. After he sent her a draft to read, she called him immediately. “I’m very upset,” she said. “Tell me: Is it true?”
To see for yourself, buy it here.