Thursday, January 16, 2020

Seven books about surviving political & environmental disasters

Tochi Onyebuchi is the author of Beasts Made of Night, its sequel Crown of Thunder, War Girls, and Riot Baby, out this month from He has graduated from Yale University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia Law School, and L’institut d’├ętudes politiques with a Masters degree in Global Business Law.

At Electric Lit Onyebuchi tagged seven books about surviving political and environmental disasters. One title on the list:
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Jail, prison, and police often come together to resemble cosmic forces, morphing from individual gears in a machine ostensibly oriented towards justice into a meteorological event: a flood or typhoon that devastates communities, destabilizes families, and leaves those left behind barely enough time to repair what can be repaired before the next storm strikes. For too many, mass incarceration less resembles a series of choices and consequences and more resembles a natural disaster, a mini-apocalypse. The consequence in An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is the destruction of a married, middle-class African American couple. Roy is wrongfully convicted of a rape he did not commit, leaving behind his wife, Celestial. Their tough, stunning, all-too-real story spins out from there. As pervasive as America’s carceral system is in society, I’ve come across precious few novels that delve deeply into the consequences of this almost Biblical plague on those people affected, certainly few that do so with the power and pathos of Jones’s novel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

An American Marriage is among Ruth Reichl's six novels she enjoyed listening to while cooking, Brad Parks's top eight books set in prisons, Sara Shepard's six top stories of deception,and Julia Dahl's ten top books about miscarriages of justice.

--Marshal Zeringue