paper trail

Lauren Michele Jackson on Richard Wright and “truth-telling”; Kavita Bedford’s novel of freelancing

Kavita Bedford. Photo: © Christopher Woe

For the New Yorker, Lauren Michele Jackson considers Richard Wright’s The Man Who Lived Underground, newly published in full by the Library of America. Jackson notes that the novel “tickles audiences’ appetite for that which feels both timely and, at the same time, transhistorical.” She continues: “In marketing the book’s theme of police violence, the shepherds of the new Library of America edition may be inadvertently reinforcing an old dynamic between readers and Wright, which is a version of the dynamic that plagues readers and Black writers more broadly—namely, that any interest in style is eclipsed by a preoccupation with gritty truth-telling.”

In the new issue of The Drift, a roundup of writers, students, mental-health practitioners, and patients on “The Year in Mental Health.” As part of the package, Baffler editor and writer Jess Bergman considers the idea of “burnout”: “Regardless of their divergent material circumstances, it’s true that ICU nurses tending to four patients at a time and Goldman Sachs analysts working 100-hour weeks have something important in common. Here’s a hint: it isn’t a problem of personal mental health. We don’t need a neologism for exploitation, especially one designed to mystify more than it reveals.”

In a review of Friends and Dark Shapes, a new novel by Kavita Bedford, for The Nation, Lily Meyer considers the mundane and alienated life of a freelancer: “Bedford is refreshingly committed to portraying writing not as a calling or craft but as work. She shows freelance writing as a form of what the journalist Sarah Jaffe, in her recent book Work Won’t Love You Back, calls ‘hope labor.’”

The New York Times has announced that Amanda Morris will be the paper’s first ever reporting fellow for disability issues.

At the New Republic, Lynn Steger Strong reviews a new biography of Adrienne Rich by Hilary Holladay. Strong writes about the “fraught” gap between art and life for the author: “The persona Rich presented to the world was indomitable, almost inconceivable; what she was was often in pain, cowed.”

Tonight at 7PM EST, editor Max Fox will talk about the late Christopher Chitty’s book Sexual Hegemony with Hannah Black and Kay Gabriel. According to Duke University press, the book’s publisher, Sexual Hegemony “traces the five-hundred year history of capitalist sexual relations by excavating the class dynamics of the bourgeoisie's attempts to regulate homosexuality.”