Here Comes Success
Just before 1998, he started taking advice from the talking crow.
It started like you might have imagined. The crow was perched on a spindly branch near the hospital parking lot. It quietly assessed him.
He was getting his car keys out of his pocket, and the crow was drawn in by his smooth knuckles as they slid into the denim of his jeans and then slid out barely concealing something shiny.
Apr 1, 2015
The Food Court at Guantanamo
Philosophers Discover Thousands of Miles of Intellectual Dead Zones Caused by American Cultural Practices
The release of several reports this fall concerning environmental collapse has introduced us to a new and powerful way to discuss nature, one that we may have overlooked in our concern for life.
The destruction of the natural world, as it turns out, is going to be expensive. No, silly, not like you’re thinking--loss of human and animal lives, loss of culture, loss of pleasure, loss of hope. Not those expenses. I’m talking about money.
Feb 28, 2015
The Third Sex
On Violence, Materialism, and the Knowledge of Angels
“The Authorities came to their Adam. And, when they saw his female counterpart speaking with him they became agitated and they became enamored with her. They said, ‘Come, let us sow our seed in her.’
“And, she laughed at them for their witlessness and their blindness; and in their clutches she became a tree, and left them her shadowy form, resembling herself, and they defiled it foully, and they defiled the stamp of her voice, so that by the form they had modeled with their own image, they had made themselves liable to condemnation.”
Feb 13, 2015
Down and Out in Athens
Excerpt from Nike by Cara Hoffman
Set in the red light district of Athens, Greece in the late 1980s, Cara Hoffman’s cult classic novel, Nike, is about getting by at the periphery. It chronicles the lives of a group of young expatriates from a global culture of war.
In this scene Maya Brennan, who has been raised on military bases throughout the US, and has sold her passport to finance her travels, uses the cultural capital of her upbringing to get the document re-issued. NIKE reveals a world where freelance military contractors, small-time traffickers, and refugees from the superficial materialism of the Reagan/Bush era surf undetected on the crest of a wave that was about to break in an era of perpetual military engagement.
Aug 13, 2014
Victorian Proto-punk, Riot Grrls
The Literary Legacy of Helen and Olivia Rossetti
In 1903, two young sisters, Helen and Olivia Rossetti, published a novel under the pseudonym Isabel Meredith, chronicling their lives as radicals, propagandists, and key figures in the European anarchist movement of that era. Prior to that, while still in their teens, they edited The Torch--An International Newspaper of Communist Anarchism, from 1891 to 1896, which scandalously called for sexual equality, the destruction of religion, and the end of state rule by violent means.
Aug 21, 2014
Often when I say “she” or “you” I mean me.
I mean me when I tell you this story but I will say “you.”
I will generalize. I will refer to the broad category that fits my body. The broad category to which my body belongs, in which it has been placed or can be seen from above. The specifics have long been beside the point. I do not agree to be myself.
May 8, 2014
Rachel Pollack is Willing to Change Everything
Rachel Pollack is the author of six novels, two collections of short stories, and 21 works of nonfiction, including the classic 78 Degrees of Wisdom, one of the most important contemporary guides to interpreting the tarot. She is the recipient of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for her novel Unquenchable Fire and the World Fantasy Award for Godmother Night.
May 15, 2014
All Lookouts Clamped on Paradise
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this fine bit of gangster rap in 1883:
Fifteen men of the whole ship’s list
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Dead and bedamned and the rest gone whist!
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
The skipper lay with his nob in gore
Where the scullion’s axe his cheek had shore
And the scullion he was stabbed four times four
Apr 10, 2014
This is What Domestic Terrorism Looks Like
Home is Where the Hatred Is
More than a decade ago I worked as a newspaper reporter in a rural New York State town. For a time, I covered the police beat, and was tasked with picking up the crime blotter each morning to see if there were noteworthy crimes.
On my first day of work in a town with a population of 1,800, the chief of police told me he wouldn’t release the blotter. “We got no crimes to report,” he said. “only domestics.”
Apr 11, 2020
An Interview with Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is an author and queer anti-assimilationist activist living in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle. She spoke with Fifth Estate on July 2, the day CHOP, the district’s autonomous zone, was demolished by police. Sycamore’s latest novel The Freezer Door is in part about the stranglehold the suburban imagination has on city life; a meditation on the trauma and possibility of searching for connection in a world that enforces bland norms of gender, sexual, and social conformity.
Sep 24, 2020
About this Issue
Welcome to Fifth Estate’s Anarchist Review of Books, edited by a collective based in Austin, Detroit, Chicago, New York, Oakland and Seattle. ARB brings you intelligent, subversive, non–dogmatic writing with an anti-authoritarian perspective.
We put this issue out at a time of grave concern in American publishing. A deadening combination of corporate consolidation and academic professionalization of writing has produced decades of embarrassing, dull work and uninspired critique that stands as a record of cowardice and complicity in literature; a one-two punch that has brought wily, vibrant work to its knees.
Dec 29, 2020