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The mainstream media has its cyclopic eye on South Asia, broadcasting images of nerdy brown people stealing office jobs or the destitute and emaciated awaiting alms.
Lee Stringer’s recent memoir, Sleepaway School (Seven Stories, 2004), is a breakthrough in honesty as well as invention. He thoroughly explores a subject he’d formally left alone: his childhood.
It’s no secret that critic Jed Perl is at odds with today’s art world. His 2000 essay collection, Eyewitness, attacked an “art world in crisis,” and he’s sounded off against Pomo posterboys (and critical darlings) such as John Currin, Damien Hirst, and Matthew Barney. Just last month, Perl spilled 7,400 words in the New Republic—where he has been writing since 1994—on the death of formalism and the “hipper-than-thou bravado” of the chic taste-makers who always find the exhibition’s after-party.
Having endeared themselves to succeeding generations of sandbox classics majors—myself included—with their collection of Greek myths (first published in 1961), the d’Aulaires’ eccentrically illustrated follow-up came six years later, perhaps as a paean to the Scandinavian folklore of Ingri’s youth; as the book’s jacket notes, she traced her family’s lineage back to the Viking kings.
When media ethics professor Robert Jensen was growing up in North Dakota, he had no idea that his insular world was built on a foundation of racial subjugation. To his credit, this self-styled “white-bred, white bread, white boy” has spent decades deconstructing skin privilege.
Belly, the debut novel from Lisa Selin Davis, meanders almost as much as its hero. But even where the plot plateaus, as it does in the middle, the prose is strongly compelling.