You can read 19 more articles this month
Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation
Edited by John Freeman
(OR Books, £15)
WITH contributions from 36 contemporary writers, Tales of Two Americas explores what it feels like to live now in an inequality-riven US where, according to US billionaire businessman Warren Buffett, “There's class warfare, alright, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war and we're winning.”
Since the 2008 financial crash, class politics has taken on a renewed importance, especially in the past couple of years. “America is broken,” editor John Freeman argues in the introduction, noting that the unease created by the soul-crushing neoliberalism dominating US politics since the Reagan administration became the “pivot point” of last year's presidential election.
Mixing short stories, journalistic essays and poems, the collection includes some literary big hitters, including Joyce Carol Oates, Ann Patchett and Richard Russo.
As with any compilation, some pieces are more memorable and insightful than others. Rather than reading it at a gallop, it's a book to dip in and out to savour and consider each contribution and it's a brilliant opportunity to discover new writers who have a deep concern for the wider social and political world.
Rebecca Solnit explores the connections between the 2014 police shooting of a Hispanic young man and the gentrification of San Francisco, while Roxanne Gay provides a piercing story of a working-class woman living in oppressive circumstances who's determined to escape.
The stand-out is Sandra Cisneros’s moving and eloquent love letter, of sorts, to the Chicago where she spent her poverty-stricken childhood. “In the neighbourhoods we knew, booze was easier to find than books,” she remembers.
Also impressive is Karen Russell’s long personal account of getting on the housing ladder in the liberal city of Portland amid some of the highest levels of street homelessness in the country.
Yet, in between all the misery, violence, wasted talent, resignation and desperation highlighted by the authors, chinks of hope shine through.
Fictional characters and real people endure, flourish, empathise, co-operate, resist and organise — qualities that will need to be seriously upscaled if President Trump is to be toppled and a fairer, more just and humane America established.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.