The People’s Republic of Everything
a review of
The People’s Republic of Everything by Nick Mamatas. Tachyon Publications 2018, tachyonpublications.com
Nick Mamatas, who first entered the radical literary scene two decades ago as one of the translators of Jae-Eui Lee’s Kwangju Diary, has been a consistent yet consistently surprising voice since.
Sep 10, 2018
Freedom in the Marshes
A review of
The Beast and Other Tales by Jóusè d’Arbaud, translated by Joyce Zonana. Northwestern University Press 2020
“I was happy on this barren land that barely provides what I need to sustain this ancient body, but which grants me the wild wind I cannot live without…”
These are the words of The Beast of Vacares, the title character of the title story in Jóusè d’Arbaud’s powerful collection. First published in Provençal in 1926 and long treasured in its native land, the book has only now been translated into English. For many American readers it will be their first glimpse of a landscape, way of life, and language that were under threat even at the time this book was written, founded on the freedom of open spaces and solitude.
Feb 19, 2021
Plague for Profit
a review of
The Monster Enters: COVID-19 and the Plagues of Capitalism by Mike Davis. O/R Books 2020
As he has done in the past for California wildfires and famine in India, Mike Davis contextualizes pandemic disease in a matrix of capitalism and deprivation that make a particular kind of disaster inevitable. In The Monster Enters, Davis chronicles the emergence of a new virus; confusion reigns about how it spreads, how deadly it might prove, and how best to stop it. Some governments downplay the danger for political or economic reasons; others are hamstrung in their response by neglected public health infrastructure. People suffer and die—poor people most of all.
Feb 11, 2021
The Booksellers of our Better Nature
New York City. March 2020, the first days of the crisis that would define the year. The words “mutual aid” began to appear where they’d not been seen before, from lamp post flyers to Reddit neighborhood forums.
Everyone from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to Britney Spears was using the expression. Loosely organized groups ran errands and made deliveries. Friends sewed masks for friends, then for friends of friends. And well before the summer’s boiling-over of righteous rage at police brutality, sustained protests attempted to hold Cuomo and the prison system accountable for leaving incarcerated at-risk people in facilities like Rikers Island, which became a hotspot for COVID.
Jul 31, 2021