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Kaitlyn Greenidge

Kaitlyn Greenidge is the author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman (Algonquin, 2016). Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Believer, American Short Fiction, and other publications. 

Author

<em>Black Leopard, Red Wolf</em>. By Marlon James. Penguin, 2019. 640p. HB, $30.</p>

An Outside Man

Spring 2019 | Criticism

When Marlon James announced his follow-up to his Booker-Prize winning novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, it was met with intense excitement. James is best known as a literary novelist with a reputation for not mincing his words in public. In promotion for his last book, James sparked debate with his comments about the domination of white women as gatekeepers in publishing and his critique on the distinction between white people who identify as nonracist as opposed to antiracist. In the business of literary fiction, writers who speak so directly and bluntly about how power in the industry works are rare and often marginalized. But the honor of the Booker Prize, one of the top prizes in the world, seemed to usher James into the world of publishing respectability.


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Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Shaken Out of Time

Winter 2017 | Criticism

Midway through Zadie Smith’s new novel, Swing Time, the unnamed narrator watches two girls walk “hand in hand” down a dusty road in an anonymous, fictionalized African country. “They looked like best friends,” she notes—that “looked” suggesting the mysteries of friendship that the novel has been dedicated to up until that point. “They were out at the edge of the world, or of the world I knew, and watching them, I realized it was…almost impossible for me to imagine what time felt like for them, out here.” The girls inevitably remind the narrator of her own lost, best friend, Tracey, who angrily haunts the novel, forever resisting the narrator’s attempts to regulate her to incorporeality. Of their friendship, she notes, “We thought we were products of a particular moment, because as well as our old musicals, we liked things like Ghostbusters and Dallas. We felt we had our place in time. What person on earth doesn’t feel this way?” But the narrator is unable to place the two girls before her in any time. “When I waved at those two girls…I couldn’t rid myself of the idea that they were timeless symbols of girlhood…I knew it couldn’t possibly be the case but I had no other way of thinking of them.”

God Help the Child. By Toni Morrison. Knopf, 2015. 192p. HB, $24.95.

The Riotous Power of Toni Morrison

April 20, 2015 | Criticism

In her eleventh novel, God Help the Child, there’s no danger of desiccation. Morrison’s work is as insistent as ever. She could still be charged with inciting a riot—albeit a quiet one, one that lends itself to pernicious reversals of thinking rather than dramatic implosions.