RADICAL HOPE: LETTERS OF LOVE AND DISSENT IN DANGEROUS TIMES -- a kaleidoscopic view of the love and courage needed to navigate this time of upheaval, uncertainty, and fear
Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times, Edited by Carolina De Robertis (2017, Vintage; 272 pages)
Carolina de Robertis, the editor of this fabulous collection of letters of love and dissent in dangerous times, is an award-winning author of novels like The Gods of Tango, Perla, and The Invisible Mountain. She is also a longtime activist who spent ten years in the nonprofit sector before publishing her first book. During that time she led projects concerning issues like women's rights, immigrant rights, and addressing sexual violence. It is my opinion that her experience as an advocate for human rights illuminated the way to bring together journalists, poets, leading novelists and political thinkers to create a compendium of radical hope.
For many, this time we are living in is defined by despair, tumult and danger. De Robertis decided to explore the idea of forming a body of epistolary essays, or essays in letter form, as a way to build up a collective mirror of what makes the American society strong and beautiful. Those who agreed to participate did so in a radically honest, brave, and bold way. They practice the exercise of taking notice and measure of what's been lost with the shift this country has gone through, or is going through, what's changed and what hasn't. They also offer their perceptions on where we are now, and what this means in both a personal and intimate way and also a societal one.
The book is really a manifesto. It is divided into three sections that follow three big questions. The first section is compiled under the name “Roots,” and explores the histories that bring the American society to the present moment. There the reader will find many letters addressed to ancestors, for example. The second section is the epistolary correspondence that belongs to “Branches,” and it brings essays about present-day people or communities, from Baby Boomers to the protestors at Standing Rock. It is one of my favorite parts of the manifesto, because it dives into complex questions of our current era. The last section is called “Seeds,” and its radical hope sustains the future through words to new generations, daughters and sons, imagined children yet to be born, inheritors of what is happening now.
The reader is lucky. The names of contributors willing to offer their words as a beacon, balm, compass, and power source are big: Achy Obejas, Alicia Garza, Aya de León, Boris Fishman, Carolina De Robertis, Celeste Ng, Cherríe Moraga, Chip Livingston, Claire Messud, Cristina García, Elmaz Abinader, Faith Adiele, Francisco Goldman, Hari Kunzru, iO Tillett Wright, Jane Smiley, Jeff Chang, Jewelle Gomez, Junot Díaz, Karen Joy Fowler, Kate Schatz, Katie Kitamura, Lisa See, Luis Alberto Urrea, Meredith Russo, Mohja Kahf, Mona Eltahawy, Parnaz Foroutan, Peter Orner, Reyna Grande, Roxana Robinson, and Viet Thanh Nguyen.
Radical Hope is a must read for those who are wading through waves of despair and need to hold onto love, courage, and company to navigating this time of uncertainty
Find this title in our catalog: Radical Hope
Recommended by: Maite