“If we are now relentlessly connected, every marginal identity gaining collective recognition, becoming assimilated, ever more rapidly? If that is where we stand, then something like a stubbornly solitary voice may be welcome, even necessary, telling us that what it means to be human—and what may keep us human—is to feel alone in a strange room, with our seclusion the thing that defines and can save us.” On bearing witness to the spectacle of aloneness and the fiction of empathy.
Read our own Kaila Philo’s essay on Toni Morrison’s new book The Origin of Others and then pair it with Nell Irvin Painter’s reflection on ‘Toni Morrison’s Radical Vision of Otherness.’ “Morrison’s history of Othering represents an intervention in history on several fronts. Although the theme of desegregating the literary canon reappears in The Origin of Others, times have changed since Playing in the Dark. Surely thanks to the more multicultural, multiracial canon that Morrison helped foster, no respectable version of American literature today omits writers of color.”
“Ocean Vuong is that rare architect of accommodation, giving the most precarious situations or embarrassing of grievances of our culture a sound environment in which they can thrive. As he kisses and tucks the parents in their beds, he sets out from the wreckage of his past towards a hard-won horizon of blunder and wonderment.” Jeff Nguyen reviews Vuong’s newest poetry collection, Night Sky With Exit Wounds.
The Rumpus is coming to your iPad or iPhone. The magazine just launched its new app, The Weekly Rumpus. The app features the best of The Rumpus’s weekly content, original short fiction, and upcoming articles every Wednesday. The app and its first issue are free, but you can subscribe for $3.99 a month or $25.99 a year.
Out this week: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante; Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg; Marvel and a Wonder by Joe Meno; The Hundred Year Flood by Matthew Salesses (who recently wrote for us); Dryland by Sara Jaffe; and Purity by Jonathan Franzen (which we reviewed). For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.