Also of interest... in culture clashes
by Jonathan Dee (Random House, $28)
Jonathan Dee’s talent for diagnosing what ails us “has never been more unnerving,” said Ron Charles in The Washington Post. When a New York billionaire moves to a small town in the Berkshires and starts taking over by throwing money around, the effect on his neighbors is frightening. Seeing themselves as failures by comparison, various townsfolk take ill-considered risks, burn bridges, and build up poisonous resentments. “Amid the heat of today’s vicious political climate, The Locals is a smoke alarm. Listen up.”
by Jenny Zhang (Lenny, $26)
At its best, Jenny Zhang’s collection of seven intertwined stories “shimmers with vibrancy and compassion,” said Renée Graham in The Boston Globe. The protagonists, many of them daughters of Chinese immigrants, languish in roach-infested apartments under the close watch of strict parents and curse the seeming unattainability of the American Dream. Readers might be startled by the bawdiness of their language, but these “restless, searching” women are all caged, and they’re fighting fiercely to break out.
White Man’s Game
by Stephanie Hanes (Metropolitan, $28)
“Who doesn’t want zebras, elephants, hippos, and rhinos to live undisturbed in a tropical paradise?” said Laura Orlando in In These Times. But as journalist Stephanie Hanes demonstrates in her “brilliant” account of a wealthy American’s effort to create a wildlife refuge in Mozambique, trampling the interests of local people is no way to realize that dream. Hanes “resists cynicism throughout,” but makes clear that the story continues a long tradition of tone-deaf Western interventions in Africa.
The Once and Future Liberal
by Mark Lilla (Harper, $25)
Mark Lilla’s polemical attack on identity politics ranks as “a missed opportunity of the highest order,” said Beverly Gage in The New York Times. Asked to expand a short essay in which he urged fellow liberals to drop their obsession with identity issues, the Columbia University professor chose to cook up a “sneering” 143-page jeremiad. Sure, Lilla identifies “some truly important questions that liberals and leftists of all stripes will have to face together.” But insults are no path to unity.