White Girls, Hilton Als' first book since The Women 14 years ago, finds one of The New Yorker's boldest cultural critics deftly weaving together his brilliant analyses of literature, art, and music with fearless insights on race, gender, and history. The result is an extraordinary, complex portrait of "white girls", as Als dubs the main expansive but precise category that encompasses figures as diverse as Truman Capote and Louise Brooks, Malcolm X and Flannery O'Connor. In pieces that hairpin between critique and meditation, fiction and nonfiction, high culture and low, the theoretical and the deeply personal, Als presents a stunning portrait of a writer by way of his subjects, and an invaluable guide to the culture of our time.
"Sometimes a bit of a mess, but always entertaining"
Recently rediscovered in the archives of the New York Public Library, these short stories provide an unparalleled look at Truman Capote writing in his teens and early '20s, before he penned such classics as Other Voices, Other Rooms, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and In Cold Blood. This collection of more than a dozen pieces showcases the young Capote developing the unique voice and sensibility that would make him one of the 20th century's most original writers.
"Stories From A Young Capote"
Daring and fiercely original, The Women is at once a memoir, a psychological study, a sociopolitical manifesto, and an incisive adventure in literary criticism. It is conceived as a series of portraits analyzing the role that sexual and racial identity played in the lives and work of the writer's subjects: his mother, a self-described "Negress", who would not be defined by the limitations of race and gender.
"How it feels"
This master class in criticism was recorded live at the 2006 New Yorker Festival in New York City.
"Save the Elephants", by Elizabeth Kolbert; "Never Apologize", by Nick Paumgarten; "Ridiculous", by Ian Parker; "Stones and Bones", by Adam Gopnik; "Lockdown", by Emily Nussbaum; "Who’s Your Daddy?", by Hilton Als; and "Endgames", by David Denby.
"Rough Forecasts", by Elizabeth Kolbert; "Crossing Christie", by Ryan Lizza; "Deep Frieze", by Daniel Mendelsohn; "Free Man of Color", by Hilton Als; and "After Darkness", by Anthony Lane.
"Leaks", by Steve Coll; "Them Thar Vaults", by Lizzie Widdicombe; "Back-Office Blues", by James Surowiecki; "Color Vision", by Hilton Als; "The Perfect Stride", by Jennifer Kahn; "Cancer World", by Steven Shapin; and "Hard Lessons", by David Denby.
"And the Oscar Goes to", by Hendrik Hertzberg; "Irony 101", by Ben McGrath; "The Trial", by Jane Mayer; "Drinking Games", by Malcolm Gladwell; and "The Way of Her Flesh", by Hilton Als.
"Eight Days in April", by Hendrik Hertzberg; "Channelling Ike", by Richard Rayner; "A Canterbury Tale", by Jane Kramer; "Killer Food", by Dana Goodyear; and "Mama's Gun", by Hilton Als.
"Imus vs. Imus" by Nick Paumgarten; "Liar, Liar" by Jeffrey Goldberg; "Round One" by Jane Kramer; "Waiting for Manny" by Ben McGrath; "Love Among the Ruins" by Hilton Als; and "Dearly Departed" by David Denby.
"Insurrection" by Nicholas Lemann; "Pump Pressure" by James Surowiecki; "Gone With the Surge" by Peter J. Boyer; "Intelligent Design" by Paul Rudnick; "The Kingdom" by Michael Specter; "Mammy for the Masses" by Hilton Als; and "Seeing Stars" by Nancy Franklin.
There are nine articles in the first part of this double issue: "Testing the Climate", by Elizabeth Kolbert; "Who's Scrooge?", by Lizzie Widdicombe; "A Buyer's Christmas", by James Surowiecki; "The Frog at Forty-Five", by Mimi Sheraton; "Life on Mars", by David Remnick; "Demolition Man", by John Lahr; "Stairway to Here", by Sasha Frere-Jones; "Family Planning", by Hilton Als; and "Settling Scores", by Anthony Lane.