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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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Roxane Gay’s Masterpieces of Private Rage

Rafia Zakaria The New Republic
Rafia Zakaria shows us how Roxane Gay, in this new collection of short stories, explores interconnections between racism, work, love, violence, and sex.

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5 Novels Every Revolutionary Should Read

John Rees Counterfire
John Rees, author of The Leveller Revolution: Radical Political Organization in England 1640-1650, (Verso, 2016; reviewed in Portside Culture, November 30, 2016) weighs in with his recommendations about some of the best fiction in English dealing with radical movements and the revolutionary experience.

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Louise Erdrich's Hard Facts

Phillip H. Round Public Books
Acclaimed Native American novelist Erdrich's fifteenth novel is a "multigenerational tale," writes reviewer Round, that "stretches across two centuries of life on the Northern Plains."
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