“There is a platitude in looking back at historical disasters. Right now, I’m looking for books that bring dimension to this massive tragedy and support me with understanding and perspective where I don’t have one. First, I return to the human, patient and profound writing of Primo Levi, in particular the three books of his terrifying experiences before, during and after the Second World War: The Periodic Table (1975), Survival at Auschwitz (1988) and The alarm [also titled The Truce] (1963). Second, Mike Davis The monster at our doorstep (2005), which gives me everything the news cycle doesn’t: a sense of the interconnected forces and history that has prepared us for what we are going through. »
The Afro-Dominican writer is the author of The poet X (2018) and With the fire above (2019). His next book, Clap when you land, expected to be released in May 2020
“In this surreal period, reading Leaders of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (2018) is a safe way to wrestle with the weird and the wonderful. Thompson-Spires is a master at constructing characters in ways that celebrate and complicate their very real, very human desires. Each narrative conflict is so hyper-specific that it’s like stepping into a small world occupied by a deepest pain that you may not have known you had. While my Covid-19-obsessed mind struggles to stay focused, the Thompson-Spires short stories pack a heavy hit of fiction, while being gentle on my attention span.
Born in a Thai refugee camp as her family fled the Khmer Rouge regime, the novelist and poet spent her formative years in Sydney, Australia. She is the author of Love & Misadventure (2013), sad girls (2017) and Poetry (2019)