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Information is power. Our mission at Portside is to seek out and to provide information that empowers you -- that empowers the left. Every day we search hundreds of sources to connect you with the most interesting, striking and useful material. Just once a year we appeal to you to contribute to make it possible to continue this work. Please help.

books

A Postcard from Ursula LeGuin

John Crowley Boston Review
An homage to the then recently deceased, superlative science fiction writer who encouraged the author, an apprentice novelist adrift in the publishing world, to be a better reader as well as an accomplished scribbler of exemplary fiction.

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A Novel Tackles Capitalism and Boredom

Constance Grady Vox
In Ling Ma's debut novel Severance, a radically understated post-apocalyptic novel about boredom, the apocalypse looks a lot like another day at the office.

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Remembering Philip Roth (1933-2018)

Nathaniel Rich The New York Review of Books
An homage to the esteemed late novelist and nonfiction writer Philip Roth, who died on May 22, leaving a legacy of thick description of an American culture where, in Roth's ironic words, “everything goes and nothing matters."

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Outlander Introduces Slavery Into Its Narrative So Claire & Jamie Can Make Heart Eyes in Jamaica

Princess Weekes The MarySue
The moral of the story is “don’t tell stories about these big topics if you can’t do it well.” And by “well,” I don’t mean create a post-racial utopia. I mean have the ability to give that story its own weight and importance beyond what it does for your two white leads. I mean the very least you can do is not make Jamie and Claire white saviors. At the very least. But that isn’t possible because they are the people this story is about.

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Literature’s Inherited Trauma

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim The Millions
Jesmyn Ward is best known for her novel Salvage the Bones (2011). In this new book, says reviewer Ibrahim, "she traces an American highway odyssey, from the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Parchman Farm, the notorious state penitentiary."

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The Black Novelist History Forgot

Robert B. Stepto  Washington Post
Himes was a pivotal and versatile post WW II-era American novelist whose work influenced several generations of African American and other writers. A new biography of the novelist is drawing national attention.

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Natasha Walter The Guardian
The acclaimed Indian novelist and essayist whose first novel, The God of Small Things (1997) was a prize-winning, international sensation, has just published a new novel that reviewer Walter describes as "a bright mosaic."

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A Not So Distant Mirror: Jack London's Political Writings

Howard Tharsing The ThreePenny Review
Returning to two of socialist Jack London's classics, The Iron Heel and The People of the Abyss--both available free at Project Gutenberg--the reviewer finds stark similarities between the deprivation of the early 20th century and the modern world of neoliberal capitalism, with its gig economy and the emergence of a precariat, valorizing London's injunction that class supremacy can rest only on class degradation.

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The Book Beneath the Noise

Jennifer Helinek Open Letters Monthly
In these early days of the Age of Trump, there is an upsurge of interest in Margaret Atwood's 1985 harrowing dystopian novel. Jennifer Helinek reminds us why this book has become a modern classic.

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A Not so Distant Mirror

Howard Tharsing Threepenny Review
Jack London, who died 100 years ago last November, was one of the most prominent socialist writers of the early 20th century. Here is a look at some of his political writings.
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