Brief written notes | New Yorker


Sixth stageby Jim Shepherd (Knopf). set in post-Corona virus disease-19 world, this masterful novel imagines the fallout of an even more deadly pandemic. The focus shifts between an eleven-year-old in Greenland, where the virus originated; An Algerian epidemiologist working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; An ICU doctor takes care of a patient in upstate New York. Told in short chapters in an honest, clinical style, the story is at the same time poignant and hard to bear. As the world gives way to panic, the epidemiologist wonders, “What is all that dystopia she had to read about in high school, regarding the individual trampled by the state, and talk about? Why did no one imagine a chaos No The one responsible? “

Walking on Cowrie . ShellsWritten by Nana Nkoiti (Grey Wolf). This innovative collection of stories features a variety of characters, style, and even genre. In one story, a “fixer” who specializes in concealing corporate misdeeds must quell a zombie existence created by illegal weapons testing. In another film, a teenage girl adjusts to nightlife as a New York club and bathroom worker after a suicide bombing in Cameroon kills her mother. A Cameroonian-American, Nkwete explores the complexities of African immigrant life in the United States, being a “Hafrikan” in Africa, and being a young woman struggling against oppressive parental expectations. Lively, fast, funny and tragic, these stories reject a uniquely African experience in favor of a lively pluralism.

Fragile HouseWritten by James McCauley (Yale University). This collective portrait recreates the environment of the turn of the century French Jewish dynasties such as the Rothschilds and Camondos through the art collections they collected and the major legacies they left to the French state. For these families, the gathering was an aesthetic compulsion and a way to reassert French identity amid a wave of anti-Semitism. Covering the period between the Dreyfus Affair and World War II, McCauley lists how many of his central figures were deported by the Vichy government and describes the fate of their groups. The study of “obsessions about things” becomes a darker tale of “obsessions about a nation turning out to be an illusion.”

There are plant eyesby m. Leona Godin (Pantheon). “The dual aspects of blindness—that it is a tragic horror on the one hand and a powerful gift from the gods on the other—remain stubbornly fixed in our cultural fantasies,” Godin asserts, a blind and performing writer, in this thought-provoking mixture of criticism, memoir and advocacy. Drawing on works including The Odyssey, “Oedipus Rex”, “King Lear”, and “Paradise Lost”, I traced two ideas: the inability to see brings deep insight and that the blind can show how little vision they really are. Godin counters these stereotypes with her own experiences and with surprising detail from the lives of blind activists like Helen Keeler, stating that “there are as many ways to be blind as there are to be sighted.”

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