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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 23 October, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: Where the bodies are buried...

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. Investigative reporter

shutterstock_110345888 Source: Shutterstock/sergign

Charles Bowden spent 40 years as an investigative reporter. For two years after he retired, he was silent. Now another journalists meets him to find out why he retreated.

(High Country News, approx 25 mins reading time, 5037 words)

He’s speaking in the tone of a scientist but describing violence and violent acts, signs and sightings left in the wake of the whale. There was the man who was tortured and killed and his body was found without a head. A few days later the head was delivered to his family in a cooler.

2. Where the bodies are buried

Jean McConville tree tribute Source: Niall Carson

Jean McConville ‘disappeared’ in December 1972. Gerry Adams has repeatedly said he was not a member of the IRA. This essay looks at both situations.

(New Yorker, approx 80 mins reading time, 16015 words)

For all the gnawing irresolution, there was one clear explanation. Michael’s sister Susan, who was eight when Jean was taken, told me that she knew, eventually, that her mother was dead, because otherwise “she would have found her way back to us.”

3. I’ll sleep when I’m dead

shutterstock_192906149 Source: Shutterstock/lassedesignen

Are near-death experiences for real, or something utterly fake – and what can science tell us about them?

(The Atlantic, approx 39 mins reading time, 7892 words)

Their stories are similar to those told in dozens if not hundreds of books and in thousands of interviews with “NDErs,” or “experiencers,” as they call themselves, in the past few decades. Though details and descriptions vary across cultures, the overall tenor of the experience is remarkably similar.

4. Leaving prison

shutterstock_174659255 Source: Shutterstock/sakhorn

When the gate closed behind Tanya and she was out in the real world, she had £46 in her pocket and little else. Here’s what it’s like to leave prison.

(The Guardian, approx 18 mins reading time, 3716 words)

…women prisoners are much more likely than men to have nobody meeting them. £46 goes nowhere. First off, you’ve got to buy an Oyster card (London travel card), which costs £5, plus a minimum £5 top-up, so you’re down to £36 out of the gate. That’s got to last you until your benefits come through, which could take up to 6 weeks. That’s why so many girls just go out and reoffend. There’s just no way for them to survive.”

5.  Life in the Willows

shutterstock_213361648 Source: Shutterstock/Eviled

Renting an apartment in an anonymous Dublin estate means inhabiting a world where you don’t quite belong, but you’re not a stranger either.

(Dublin Review, approx 20 mins reading time, 4118 words)

If you’d asked me, in my early twenties, where I saw myself spending the first of my post-college decades, the answer you would have received would not have been ‘A gated housing estate three minutes’ walk from Rathfarnham Shopping Centre, and within easy reach of the M50.’ I would probably have said London, or New York, or maybe Paris or Berlin.

6. The treasure hunter

fargo Source: Wolfgand L L Huarhua via YouTube

A new movie tells the story of a Japanese woman who went to the Midwest after watching Fargo. The film was inspired by a real-life event, but where’s the line between fact and fiction?

(Grantland, approx 14 mins reading time, 2817 words)

It’s not real, the police tried to explain — it’s a movie; movies aren’t real — but Konishi insisted: Fargo. They labored over a pocket translator, but that only made things worse. Exasperated, officers called a Chinese restaurant, thinking it might be close enough.


Fugitive Heir Source: AP/Press Association Images

By now, you must have heard of The Jinx, a new HBO series about a billionaire fugitive. Here’s an article on that very man, Robert Durst, from back in 2002.

(GQ, approx 12 mins reading time, 2554 words)

In the early-evening hours, he would board the No. 6 in an auburn wig, makeup and earrings, and upon taking his seat he would slip out of his tennis shoes and replace them with a pair of heels he kept in a bag. Unlike Gilligan, he said very little, apart from asking questions about the bus route

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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