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Good Activist, Bad Activist

Adam Mars-Jones: ACT UP grows up, 29 July 2021

Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-93 
by Sarah Schulman.
Farrar, Straus, 736 pp., £30.99, June, 978 0 374 18513 8
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... At first glance​ the title of Sarah Schulman’s remarkable history of the Aids pressure group ACT UP in New York has a cool authority at odds with the turbulent energy of the group itself, although justified by the meticulousness of her scholarship. Let the Record Show was also the title of a 1987 agitprop artwork devised by a collective that later called itself Gran Fury, and Schulman’s book is unusual for a self-described political history in treating ACT UP’s cultural production as indivisible from its other activities ...


Niela Orr, 3 December 2020

Such a Fun Age 
by Kiley Reid.
Bloomsbury, 310 pp., £12.99, January, 978 1 5266 1214 4
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... and feeling is happening internally? What does that mean for the possibility – the duty, as Sarah Schulman calls it in her book Conflict Is Not Abuse – of repair?Something else happened in 2000. In a review of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, James Wood coined the phrase ‘hysterical realism’ to describe a trend. Novels like Smith’s and ...

Why are some people punks?

Lauren Oyler: ‘Detransition, Baby’, 20 May 2021

Detransition, Baby 
by Torrey Peters.
Serpent’s Tail, 340 pp., £14.99, January, 978 1 78816 720 8
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... novels about relationships and family. In a profile of Peters published in New York magazine, Sarah Schulman wondered if the novel’s accessibility would signal the end, rather than the beginning, of a period in which trans literature has flourished. Those concerned about the death of counterculture and the flattening of difference might be ...

In the Box

Dale Peck, 6 February 1997

How Stella Got Her Groove Back 
by Terry McMillan.
Viking, 368 pp., £16, September 1996, 0 670 86990 2
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by Sapphire.
Secker, 142 pp., £7.99, September 1996, 0 436 20291 3
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The Autobiography of My Mother 
by Jamaica Kincaid.
Vintage, 228 pp., £8.99, September 1996, 0 09 973841 4
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... diverse in talent and sensibility as Rebecca Brown, Dennis Cooper, Kathy Acker, Gary Indiana and Sarah Schulman, writers whose main similarity seemed to be that they all started out at small presses before being ‘discovered’ by big houses. By now – by which I mean, in the most Nixonian sense of the phrase, at this point in time – the formation ...

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