An anthology on the theme of family finds essays, fiction, poetry, and photography that examine the concept broadly but precisely.
Former Granta editor Freeman draws from a global cache of talent. Patrick Modiano writes about the shame he feels after exacting some short-term revenge on his abusive parents, an impulse that causes unforeseen consequences. Ruddy Roye’s photo series, “When Living Is a Protest,” captures scenes in the day-to-day existence of black men. Roye writes, “I don’t know if there has ever been a time when a black man has ceased to be a commodity,” drawing parallels between slavery and professional sports, artists, and the imprisoned. While many focus on their own families, Alexander Chee describes a catering gig for a wealthy client: an elderly woman in a wheelchair was confronted by family members, one of them dressed like “an Upper East Side Charo—wearing the very best in platform cork wedges,” who pulled her from her chair and tried unsuccessfully to wrestle her out of the mink coat she capably clung to while being repeatedly body-slammed on a nearby bed. Sandra Cisneros memorializes a series of lovers in a poem that is by turns hilarious, tender, and anatomically specific. Valeria Luiselli’s “Tell Me How It Ends” begins with her waiting for a green card, but this long-form essay is ultimately about the mass deportation of children back to Mexico and Central America, taking a hard look at the impact U.S. policy is having on kids who have no other prospects than to risk everything trying to cross the border.
This collection takes on the family from within and without, in ways one might expect and others totally unanticipated, for an expansive reading experience.