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.
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.
The first time I read The Laughing Monsters, I found it easy to love line by line—Denis Johnson’s prose, as always, is incandescent—but as scenes and chapters piled up I struggled to sustain a sense, however provisional, of what it was actually about, beyond the obvious: that the narrator is
Eugene O’Neill has been heralded as the father of American theater since at least 1962. That year, Arthur and Barbara Gelb’s O’Neill championed the Irish American playwright as a hero and crowned Long Day’s Journey into Night the greatest American play—and also the most autobiographical. There
One autumn afternoon in AD 312, Constantine the Great searched the sky to determine which gods he should enlist in his campaign to win control of Rome. According to legend, what he saw above the noonday sun signaled both a turning point in world history and a radical shift in the meaning of the symbol
Years ago, I taught a course on the French Revolution. At the end of one class, an earnest student posed a question about something that clearly troubled her. Being Korean, she wondered what this ruckus in eighteenth-century France had to do with her. Why study it in such exhaustive detail? Was France
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.