SHUTDOWN: How Covid Shook the World’s Economy, by Adam Tooze. (Viking, $28.) Tooze’s account of the twin health and economic crises of 2020 is actually a warning that American institutions and systems, and the assumptions, positions and divisions that undergird them, leave us ill prepared to deal with the next large-scale challenge, whatever it turns out to be. “Separate understandings of our world and its risks have become so divergent and so entrenched that they pose their own existential threat,” Robert E. Rubin writes in his review. “Whether we can overcome that incoherence and meet the challenges ahead while protecting the values at the heart of the American idea — freedom, pluralism, democracy — is the essential question posed by ‘Shutdown.’”

MADE IN CHINA: A Memoir of Love and Labor, by Anna Qu. (Catapult, $26.) In a narrative laced with bitterness and aching, Qu recounts trimming loose threads off sleeves in her immigrant family’s sweatshop in Queens and honors the complexity of her mother, a daunting figure who often comes across as domineering, capricious and dismissive. Chanel Miller reviews it alongside another new memoir of immigrant life, Ly Tran’s “House of Sticks,” and says both authors “capture the confusion and wonder of lives spent looking. … The immigrant child longs to be understood and unload her truths, while simultaneously being tasked with preserving her parents’ humanity. The child is the only one who wears a small headlamp, attempting to tunnel into her parent’s pasts and excavate the stories that will locate the source of their erratic behavior, buried fear and sporadic violence, providing a more forgiving lens.”

PALMARES, by Gayl Jones. (Beacon, $27.95.) Set in Brazil in the late 1600s, Jones’s first novel in 22 years is an unveiling of the brutal enslavement and degradation of various African peoples who were kidnapped by the warring factions of Europe in their ravenous quests for land, resources, power and destruction. “More than that, ‘Palmares’ is an odyssey, one woman’s search first for a place, and then for a person,” Robert Jones Jr. writes in his review. “Mercy, this story shimmers. Shakes. Wails. Moves to rhythms long forgotten. Chants in incantations highly forbidden. It is a story woven with extraordinary complexity, depth and skill; in many ways: holy.”

HOW TO WRESTLE A GIRL: Stories, by Venita Blackburn. (MCD/FSG Originals, paper, $16.) These 30 stories, many of them set in Southern California, explore grief, the body, queerness and the political and societal forces that shape the lives of young women in particular. The book shines in its propensity to magnify small moments and challenge our presumptions. “Throughout this intimate collection, Blackburn renders her characters’ interiority artfully, with emotional precision — unearthing things we often leave unsaid,” Jared Jackson writes in his review. “We’re fortunate she does.”

PRESUMED GUILTY: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights, by Erwin Chemerinsky. (Liveright, $27.95.) This book is a damning indictment of the modern Supreme Court, demonstrating in case after case that in matters of criminal law, “the police almost always win.” Melvin I. Urofsky, reviewing it, writes that “all lawmakers, in fact all concerned citizens, need to read this book. It is an eloquent and damning indictment not only of horrific police practices, but also of the justices who condoned them and continue to do so.”

Source link

Review Overview


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *