THE BLACK PRESIDENCY


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In a recent Salon interview, Georgetown University professor and political analyst Michael Eric Dyson asked, “[H]ow do you carry out a criticism of those with whom you disagree without losing your humanity or questioning theirs in the process?” He answers his own question in The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race inView Full Page…

Kevin Barry’s ‘Beatlebone’


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Some of the very best fiction is spun from a single filament of fact woven ­tightly — or loosely, if necessary — in and out of an asymmetrical framework of empathy, imagination and sheer audacity. Michael Ondaatje’s “Coming Through Slaughter” (about the early jazz trumpeter Buddy Bolden) and Nick Tosches’ “In the Hand of Dante”View Full Page…

PIECE OF MIND


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From John Wray’s Lowboy to Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, contemporary authors have boldly chronicled the minds, trials and tribulations of characters facing a range of cognitive and neurological challenges. Michelle Adelman’s debut, Piece of Mind, fits neatly into this genre. Adelman’s protagonist, Lucy, was struck by a carView Full Page…

YOUNGBLOOD


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The occupation of Iraq was as nebulous as the reasons for the original invasion. Indeed, the war’s raisons d’être multiplied as the years progressed. In Matt Gallagher’s important debut novel, Youngblood, a lieutenant stationed in Iraq asks the trillion-dollar question: “Just what . . . were we doing?” The ephemerality and pointlessness of this postmodernView Full Page…