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White Girls

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

White Girls, Hilton Alss first book since The Women fourteen years ago, finds one of The New Yorker's boldest cultural critics deftly weaving together his brilliant analyses of literature, art, and music with fearless insights on race, gender, and history. The result is an extraordinary, complex portrait of “white girls,” as Als dubs them—an expansive but precise category that encompasses figures as diverse as Truman Capote and Louise Brooks, Malcolm X and Flannery OConnor. In pieces that hairpin between critique and meditation, fiction and nonfiction, high culture and low, the theoretical and the deeply personal, Als presents a stunning portrait of a writer by way of his subjects, and an invaluable guide to the culture of our time.

Review:

"New Yorker critic Als (The Women) delivers his first book in 15 years — a mesmerizing and varied collection of essays, some previously published. His eponymous 'white girls' include Louise Brooks, Flannery O'Connor, Truman Capote, Richard Pryor, Malcolm X, Michael Jackson, Eminem, and others. Using his subjects as a springboard to analyze literature, photography, films, music, television, performance, race, gender, sexual orientation, and history, Als offers wry insights throughout. For example, he notes how O'Connor's readers often overlooked 'the originality and honesty of her portrayal... of Southern whiteness as it chafed under its biggest cultural influence — Southern blackness.' In his opening essay, 'Tristes Tropiques,' Als revels in his relationship ('twinship') with the unnamed SL ('Sir or Lady'), noting that the relationship defies categorization in an America that 'is nothing if not about categories': 'There was no context... to understand us... two colored men who were together, not lovers, not bums, not mad.' Highly attuned to popular culture, Als is a writer of many moods — meditative, sardonic, haunting, funny, reflective, and unconventional. Whether agonizing over photos of black lynchings (and realizing that the true meaning of the N-word is a 'slow death'), or constructing a critique of Virginia Woolf in the voice of Richard Pryor's sister, he proves to be a compassionate writer looking for unity — even if it can't always be found. Agent: Jeffrey Posternak, Wylie Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Hilton Als became a staff writer at The New Yorker in October, 1994, and a theatre critic in 2002. He began contributing to the magazine in 1989, writing pieces for The Talk of the Town.

Als was a staff writer for The Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. He has also written articles for The Nation and collaborated on film scripts for “Swoon” and “Looking for Langston.”

Als edited the catalog for the Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition entitled “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art,” which ran from November, 1994, to March, 1995. His first book, The Women, a meditation on gender, race, and personal identity, was published in 1996.

In 1997, the New York Association of Black Journalists awarded Als first prize in both Magazine Critique/Review and Magazine Arts and Entertainment. He was awarded a Guggenheim for Creative Writing in 2000 and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 2002-03. In 2009, Als worked with the performer Justin Bond on “Cold Water,” an exhibition of paintings, drawings, and videos by performers, at La MaMa Gallery. In 2010, he co-curated “Self-Consciousness,” at the Veneklasen Werner Gallery in Berlin.

Als has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan, and Smith College. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

1. Tristes Tropiques

2. The Women [Truman Capote]

3. This Lonesome Place [Flannery O'Connor]

4. Gone with the Wind [About a show of lynching photographs]

5. Philosopher or Dog [Louise Little, mother of Malcolm X]

6. Eminem

7. Michael [Michael Jackson]

8. The Only One [Andre Leon Talley]

9. Darling [Adrian Piper]

10. I Am the Happiness of this World [Louis Brooks]

11 Buddy Ebsen

12. A Pryor Love [Richard Pryor profile]

13. You and Whose Army? [Richard Pryor's sister]

14. It Will Soon Be Here

Product Details

ISBN:
9781936365814
Author:
Als, Hilton
Publisher:
McSweeney's Books
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Anthologies-Essays
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20131131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
300
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
History and Social Science » Journalism » General
History and Social Science » Journalism » Journalists

White Girls New Hardcover
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Product details 300 pages McSweeney's Books - English 9781936365814 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "New Yorker critic Als (The Women) delivers his first book in 15 years — a mesmerizing and varied collection of essays, some previously published. His eponymous 'white girls' include Louise Brooks, Flannery O'Connor, Truman Capote, Richard Pryor, Malcolm X, Michael Jackson, Eminem, and others. Using his subjects as a springboard to analyze literature, photography, films, music, television, performance, race, gender, sexual orientation, and history, Als offers wry insights throughout. For example, he notes how O'Connor's readers often overlooked 'the originality and honesty of her portrayal... of Southern whiteness as it chafed under its biggest cultural influence — Southern blackness.' In his opening essay, 'Tristes Tropiques,' Als revels in his relationship ('twinship') with the unnamed SL ('Sir or Lady'), noting that the relationship defies categorization in an America that 'is nothing if not about categories': 'There was no context... to understand us... two colored men who were together, not lovers, not bums, not mad.' Highly attuned to popular culture, Als is a writer of many moods — meditative, sardonic, haunting, funny, reflective, and unconventional. Whether agonizing over photos of black lynchings (and realizing that the true meaning of the N-word is a 'slow death'), or constructing a critique of Virginia Woolf in the voice of Richard Pryor's sister, he proves to be a compassionate writer looking for unity — even if it can't always be found. Agent: Jeffrey Posternak, Wylie Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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