Friday, November 8, 2013

White Girls

Hilton Als's first book in fourteen years, White Girls, will be released next Tuesday.  This tome has been getting a lot of critical praise, most recently in the New Yorker.  Why do I bring this to your attention?  Well, for one thing, Hilton Als has written insightful articles on Flannery O'Connor in the past and, while White Girls is not just about her, there is an essay on Flannery in this cultural study which touches on a cornucopia of hot-button issues.  "White girls," as Als dubs them, are not just female. Included under this label are writers such as Truman Capote and Malcolm X.  From what I've read, it's pretty hard to characterize this work.  According to the blurb on Amazon, Als essays "hairpin between critique and meditation, fiction and nonfiction, high culture and low, the theoretical and the deeply personal."  The reviewer goes on to say that, "Als presents a stunning portrait of a writer by way of his subjects, and [is] an invaluable guide to the culture of our time."  These accolades are echoed in reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist.  Coinciding with the release of White Girls, Nov. 12th is also the launch of Flannery O'Connor's much-anticipated prayer journal.  There is soon going to be a piece on it in the New York Times Book Review by Marilynne Robinson (Housekeeping, Gilead).  Seems only fitting that an author of O'Connor's stature merits such a heavy-hitter to review her little book of letters to God.
- Mark

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