Two sides of fiction, one road to empathy

His choice surprised me not only because both of us spend our time reading the Booker prize shortlists. I couldn’t imagine someone like him taking time out to read Harry Potter— which, I discovered, revealed much more about my prejudice than about his taste.

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The Archaeology of Slavery & Book Review: “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi

I imagined her watching any non-survivors being hurled into something like the adjacent Cemiterio dos Novos Pretos, the Cemetary of New Blacks, the site of the largest slave cemetery in the Americas, where tens of thousands of bodies had been dumped and incinerated upon arrival in Rio de Janeiro. Such violence affected every generation that followed her, including those who are struggling to maintain the site

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Book Review: “War & Turpentine” by Stefan Hertsman

“I don’t like reading movies much” is how I often describe my rejection of contemporary literature that relies heavily on the surprising turns and twists of plot, because I’ve often found that the degree to which such stories are entertaining, they are bereft of the lyricism that invokes reflection and the lingering taste of beauty.  […]

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Just because you cannot see the Order doesn’t mean there isn’t One

May I look at your books is a question I think that no one of my generation or older would make. It came from a younger friend, as if asking to read something secretive, like a diary. “Of course!” I responded. A quick scan resulted in wide eyes, “This is chaos!” “There is no such […]

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Book review: ‘The Freethinker’s Prayer Book’ by Khushuwant Singh

I was surprised to find that it was not one of his excruciatingly irreverent novels, filled with acidic, sidesplitting truths about what people really do. It was his own very personal collection of some of literature’s greatest verses and aphorisms of writers, prophets, poets, philosophers, mystics and saints to support his “own religion”: a religion of a man who “does not believe in God”.

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Book review: Tolstoy’s Hadji Murat

The brilliant flower of a Tartar thistle stubbornly clinging to the middle of a field was the vision that provoked the memory of the great writer, recollecting the story he had heard of as a young man visiting the Caucasus. It was the tale of the famous Chechen rebel, Hadji Murat, whose unwavering allegiance to […]

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