Category: Race

Mar 09 2019

The Bridge by David Remnick

Because I am all about timely reading, I have just finished The Bridge, whose subtitle is The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, and which was published in 2010. As Remnick explains in the acknowledgments, his “hope was to write a piece of biographical journalism that, through interviews with his contemporaries and certain historical actors, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/03/09/the-bridge-by-david-remnick/

Feb 12 2019

The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani

I think I would have appreciated this more if I were French. There were hints of subtext that I could only guess at, nuances of race and class and prejudice that are foreign even to my broad background in the mores of American, Southeast Asian and British Commonwealth cultures. So I’m not sure if the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/02/12/the-perfect-nanny-by-leila-slimani/

Dec 09 2018

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

In the eight linked tales that comprise Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff takes readers on mind-stretching journeys across time and space, far more frightening trips across the mid–twentieth century US, conjures ghosts in Chicago, banishes them in New England, and summons up a sparkling cast of friends and relatives who are doing their best to live …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/12/09/lovecraft-country-by-matt-ruff-2/

Sep 11 2018

There There by Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange is such a superlative writer that he can do things that irritate the hell out of me in other books and somehow make them work. And better than work: he creates magic on the page. It’s not really a spoiler to say that There There ends with multiple storylines left unresolved. In the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/09/11/there-there-by-tommy-orange/

May 19 2018

Dread Nation (Dread Nation #1) by Justina Ireland

Wow, I didn’t even know about the firestorm over this book and the author and her Twitter use until after I’d read and thoroughly enjoyed Dread Nation. It’s a really terrific novel: what if zombies rose after the Battle of Gettysburg, and American history took a decided turn to deal with this new existential threat? …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/05/19/dread-nation-dread-nation-1-by-justina-ireland/

Apr 28 2018

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

What an incredibly annoying book. Imagine, if you will, a family where the parents ignore two of their children but place all their hopes and dreams and crushing projections on the one daughter who winds up dead soon after her sixteenth birthday, after which the parents learn to become better parents, and maybe better partners …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/04/28/everything-i-never-told-you-by-celeste-ng/

Mar 18 2018

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

What a terrific book. What it lacked in pathos for me, it more than made up for in the breadth of its empathy and historical vision. Structured as eight short stories and an epilogue connected by their cast and timeline, Lovecraft Country plunges an ordinary black family of the 1950s and their friends into the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/03/18/lovecraft-country-by-matt-ruff/

Dec 23 2017

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan

I really liked this book, with one huge exception, which I’ll get to in a minute. It’s a very accurate depiction of life among the jetset in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, which I grew up lifestyle-adjacent to as an upper middle-class kid in Malaysia. Much has been written about how South and Southeast Asia …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/23/crazy-rich-asians-crazy-rich-asians-1-by-kevin-kwan/

Dec 08 2017

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

What has stayed with me in the months since I read The Ballad of Black Tom? The sense of teeming New York in the 1920s, the deft characterizations of the divides among black and white, the delicious irony of seeing an H.P. Lovecraft tale told from a black point of view. The story is eventually …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/12/08/the-ballad-of-black-tom-by-victor-lavalle-2/

Sep 11 2017

Underground Airlines by Ben H Winters

As a young Asian girl with shallow roots in Virginia and a voracious reading appetite, I was absolutely seduced by Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind. Once I settled permanently in America, moving north over the course of a decade from Virginia to DC to Maryland, widening my circle of colleagues and friends, and becoming …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/09/11/underground-airlines-by-ben-h-winters-2/