Monarch Headlines Fall16

Giacomo Sartori, 7 dicembre 2015, Casa Seu, Escolca.

I AM GOD

Author: Giacomo Sartori

The narrator of Sartori’s hilarious, insightful novel, his first to be published in English, is none other than God, a proper monotheistic deity stirred in a very human way by one of his own creations. In language he claims is inadequate for a lonely god, he begins to keep a diary, tracking a tall, purple-pigtailed geneticist named Daphne. He observes with increasing pique her hapless life as she goes about artificially inseminating cattle, saving endangered horny toads, and engaging in unsatisfactory sex. Her friendship with an energetic zoologist and her randy paleoclimatologist boyfriend is especially irksome to him. (“Some things that happen are so predictable that even a drunken tree sloth could see them coming.”) He mocks these humans and their inebriation, their paltry appreciation of his creation like “asking a protozoan to describe an elephant: he could tell you about an infinitesimal portion of one hair on the scrotum.” And yet God becomes so smitten with Daphne that—after attempting to distract himself by watching a couple of galaxies collide—he succumbs to intervening in the most diabolical manner. On page after laugh-out-loud page, this articulate God—and author—cover just about every cynical and lofty concept concerning one’s own existence that humans have ever pondered. This is an immensely satisfying feat of imagination.

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MAGICAL NEGRO

Author: Morgan Parker

As witnessed in this third collection, blackness cannot be confined to a simple definition. Parker writes of the black experience not as an antidote or opposite to whiteness, but a culture and community where irreplicable nuances are created in spite of, not because of, pain and trauma. Blackness cannot be bought or sold; it’s an inheritance. For example, in “Magical Negro #607: Gladys Knight on the 200th Episode of The Jeffersons,” Parker writes, “When I’m rich I will still be Black. / You can’t take the girl out of the ghetto / until she earns it, or grows up into it.” Similarly, in “The History of Black People,” Parker frames the legacy of black people as “an investigation” and “a tragicomic horror film” and “joy stinging pink lips.” Parker uses personal narratives to deconstruct societal stereotypes of black womanhood. In “When a Man I Love Jerks Off in My Bed next to Me and Falls Asleep,” she observes, “When I walk into the world and know / I am a black girl, I understand / I am a costume. I know the rules. / I like the pain because it makes me.”

dying of whitenessDYING OF WHITENESS: HOW THE POLITICS OF RACIAL RESENTEMENT IS KILLING AMERICA’S HEARTLAND

Author: Jonathan M. Metzl

Traveling through the American heartland, a physician deconstructs how right-wing policies have fatal consequences, even for the voters they purport to help. Metzl paints a blistering portrait of a subculture so in thrall to racist ideology that it willingly invites rising gun suicides, poor healthcare, and falling life expectancies.

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WHY YOUNG MEN: RAGE, RACE AND THE CRISIS OF IDENTITY

Author: Jamil Jivani

Armed with cogent analysis and the personal experience of his childhood in a Toronto immigrant community, Jivani investigates one of the most urgent questions of our time: Why are young men so prone to violence? While deconstructing how and why young men are radicalized, as well as the impact of class and race on a man’s psyche, Jivani offers a path forward.

THE WORLD DOESN’T REQUIRE YOU

THE WORLD DOESN’T REQUIRE YOU

Author: Rion Amilcar Scott

A bold new talent emerges with this boundary-shattering collection of linked stories set in fictional Cross County, Maryland, founded by the leaders of America’s only successful slave uprising. Characters range from robots to sons of God in these magical realist stories about race, religion, and violence. Think of it as Faulkner meets Asimov.