THERE'S SOMETHING endearing about people who loudly proclaim their love of books. Forget the suspicions kicked up by trumpeting something as universal as “books” as one’s true love (also loves: baby animals, pizza, oxygen); forget the anachronism of loving physical objects in space and not some
Claudia Rankine's Citizen is an anatomy of American racism in the new millennium, a slender, musical book that arrives with the force of a thunderclap. In the most powerful passages, Rankine reports from the site of her own body, detailing the racist comments she's been subjected to, the "jokes," the judgments.
At Dodgers' games, on school committees, and in election campaigns, whites generally wanted to think themselves fair-minded, and Jason Sokol shows us not only their two-facedness but also the utter sincerity of both faces.
HAS ELENA FERRANTE ANY RIVAL? Only one: Lila, a fictional character, whom Ferrante, in her Neapolitan Novels, immortalizes and annihilates. Lila is charismatic and wild. Lila acts and Elena, Ferrante’s fictional stand-in, responds. Lila excels and Elena struggles to keep up. Or that’s how Elena
We now see a new kind of migration: that of the cosmopolitan, the emigrant, the exile pushed out into the world, spreading away from the imperial center. The protagonists begin in the metropoles and often end up in the provinces. Consummate insiders—bankers, lawyers, doctors, professors—they find themselves on the outside. In a state of seemingly endless movement, this new figure finds him- or herself a perennial stranger.
Much of Rachel Cusk's work seeks to describe scenes objectively, and both the benefits and limits of that objectivity are visible in Outline. Cusk's restraint, while elegant, also comes across as withholding.
Perceptive, informed, and witty utopian thinkers are in short supply, particularly ones who spend their days fighting, with infrequent success, to win a decent life for people who are up against the most powerful forces in society. Thomas Geoghegan has an ambitious agenda—or, better, wish list—for labor and its progressive friends to pursue. Only One Thing Can Save Us is a short book about very big problems.
Laura Kipnis is drawn to obsessive men, in particular obsessive men with bizarre or taboo obsessions. In place of theories, she assembles divergent examples of the form, a data set designed to flummox even the most determined essentializer.
Humans are easy to decapitate: Our large heads rest on little necks. Most mammals have thick muscles joining the shoulders with the base of the skull; ours are so slender that our spines show through the skin. It is the price tag of standing upright, of casting off the hominid hunch.
The French writer Emmanuel Carrère wrote several novels before finding his home in the more ambiguous genre of novelistic nonfiction. His work often explores the perils of self-invention and the fraught relationship between fact and fiction.