What We’re Reading – March 2016

Margaret the First

Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton:Margaret the First dramatizes the life of Margaret Cavendish, the shy, gifted, and wildly unconventional 17th-century Duchess. The eccentric Margaret wrote and published volumes of poems, philosophy, feminist plays, and utopian science fiction at a time when “being a writer” was not an option open to women. Written with lucid precision and sharp cuts through narrative time, it is a gorgeous and wholly new approach to imagining the life of a historical woman.”

The Lights of Pointe-Noire

The Lights of Pointe-Noire by Alain Mabanckou: “Alain Mabanckou left Congo in 1989, at the age of twenty-two, not to return until a quarter of a century later. As he delves into his childhood, into the life of his departed mother, and into the strange mix of belonging and absence that informs his return to Congo, his work recalls the writing of V.S. Naipaul and André Aciman, offering a startlingly fresh perspective on the pain of exile, the ghosts of memory, and the paths we take back home.”

At the Existentialist Cafe

At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell:At the Existentialist Café follows the existentialists’ story, from the first rebellious spark through the Second World War, to its role in postwar liberation movements such as anticolonialism, feminism, and gay rights. Interweaving biography and philosophy, it […] a vital investigation into what the existentialists have to offer us today, at a moment when we are once again confronting the major questions of freedom, global responsibility, and human authenticity in a fractious and technology-driven world.”

Also this month: We reviewed Prodigals by Greg Jackson and we’ll hear from A. Igoni Barrett about Blackass.

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