The Cooked Seed traces Anchee Min’s evolution from a woman with shattered self-esteem to one with brass enough to have a child when she wanted, although her Chinese-immigrant partner didn’t, and then to divorce him and find love with an American, a Vietnam veteran. Like him, Min suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and her prose bears the marks. Her book reads like the testimony of a woman who, in coping with haunting memories she’d rather suppress, swings between remembering too much and too little. Therefore, she simply tells it as it happened, in the order it happened, all of it. See my full review of the book in Ms. Magazine’s Spring issue.
The Winter 2011 issue of Nieman Reports, a publication of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, focuses on books and the book industry. It features an essay by me on discovering that, as the German critic Theodor Adorno put it, “in exile, the only house is that of writing.”
The Nation – The Minutemen were the largest border vigilante group in the country before financial scandals and criminal violence tore the group apart. Now former leaders are bringing their anti-immigrant politics inside the Tea Party. Read my piece for The Nation. (Thanks to The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund for providing support.)
Minutemen gather near Tombstone, Arizona in 2005, in the above photo by Mark Ebner.
In Neel Mukherjee’s first novel, a young Calcuttan hiding out in 1990s London reimagines the life of an English spinster in turn-of-the-century Bengal. Read my review of this ambitiously transnational debut in The Abu Dhabi Review, the arts and ideas section of The National.