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Thanksgiving Tales from the Archive
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Erin Overbey selects pieces from The New Yorker's archive that are related to Thanksgiving.
In 2010, the Korean American novelist Chang-rae Lee published a piece in The New Yorker about the Thanksgiving meals that his family prepared when they were new immigrants in America. "Magical Dinners" is a striking rumination on the nature of family and home—and what it means to truly belong. Lee crafts a tale about the melding of cultures as his family prepares Thanksgiving dinner, and other American and Korean dishes. He creates a symphony of sights and flavors and memories, then proceeds to upend our expectations about family and the fragile scope of inheritance. "Here is the meal we've been working toward, yearning for," Lee writes. "Here is the unlikely shape of our life together—this ruddy pie, what we have today and forever." In the past few years, many of us have survived great losses and forged new courses even amid ongoing uncertainties. This year, the holiday offers a fresh sense of homecoming and the potential for a return to normalcy. It hints at the restoration of a sense of belonging—however long or arduous the paths may have been that brought us here. We are all learning, as Lee observed, to embrace the unlikely shapes of our lives, as they continue to expand and unfurl before us.

More from the Archive…
Erin Overbey
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