Noting how important it is to recall “where one has come from,” O. Henry Award–winning author Glave (The Torturer’s Wife) wastes no time identifying himself as gay, black, and from Jamaica. A profound compassion for racial and sexual minorities, the oppressed, and the colonized, informs his searing, beautifully evocative collection of essays. Glave’s work spans a variety of topics, including an open letter to Jamaica’s prime minister protesting the country’s abhorrent violence toward gays; a meditation on his Jamaican ancestry (“the bloodpeople”); a tribute to the writers who inspired him, such as Toni Morrison; a reflection on the allure of “outlaw” sex; a warning against preciousness; and a lesson from a student-led protest at Cambridge University, where he was a visiting fellow in 2012. He captures the languor and seductiveness of Jamaica, likening himself to an octopus as he swims “sentence by sentence” toward a language that represents the person he wishes to be: “writer/artist, political activist, ‘intellectual.’ ” A graceful and original stylist, Glave highlights the marginalized—calling on the descendants of people who toiled for the Empire as slaves and colonial subjects to never forget their past, and, in effect, to those who profit from that past to acknowledge their complicity. Ultimately, his work is critical, yet filled with generosity and compassion. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/22/2013 Release date: 07/01/2013 Genre: Nonfiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.