This Week's Top Picks

  • The Exiles jacket
  • White Too Long jacket
  • Caste jacket
  • The Deepest South of All jacket
  • Piranesi jacket
  • The Bell in the Lake jacket

Review

The Exiles

A young governess finds herself pregnant and in prison for theft and attempted murder. An Irish thief and herbalist finds her medical skills in high demand on a convict ship bound for Australia. A young Aboriginal girl is placed in the home of a British family where she is meant to become "civilized...

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Beyond the Book

Mathinna and the British Treatment of Aboriginal Australians

In The Exiles, Christina Baker Kline tells the stories of three women caught up in the British colonization of Australia and the nearby islands (which today form the Commonwealth of Australia). One of these stories is that of a young Aboriginal girl named Mathinna. Although Kline has embellished on ...

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Review

White Too Long

Religious scholar Robert P. Jones doesn't pull any punches in his latest book, White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity: "White Christian churches have not just been complacent; they have not only been complicit; rather, as the dominant cultural power in America, they ...

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Beyond the Book

Reparations for Black Americans

In White Too Long, Robert P. Jones makes clear that his view of racial justice includes a 'tangible economic accounting' of the ways in which churches have benefited from slavery and white supremacy, as well as restitution to the Black community. In doing so, Jones joins a large chorus of ...

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Review

Caste

In 2020, the word "racist" remains taboo. Conceptually, racism is so culturally unacceptable, so ugly and indefensible, that even the alt-right take pains to acquit themselves of accusations of it. However, despite the fact that almost nobody will admit to being racist nowadays, inequality and ...

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Beyond the Book

The Johnson–Jeffries Riots

In Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson describes how, in a caste system, challenges to the superiority of the dominant caste can produce 'an epic existential crisis.' This is particularly true for the people situated at the bottom rung of the dominant caste group (in the ...

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Review

The Deepest South of All

Author Richard Grant frequently uses his wanderlust to explore diverse stories that create a complex sense of place. Certainly Natchez, Mississippi proves worthy of close examination given its grim legacy of slavery on its once expansive cotton plantations. In The Deepest South of All, Grant reveals...

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Beyond the Book

The Parchman Ordeal

Richard Grant's The Deepest South of All examines the aftermath of slavery in the Deep South through the lens of Natchez, Mississippi. One clear inference that can be made from his Natchezian narratives is that the past must be confronted before it can lay dormant in its grave. Unfortunately, ...

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Review

Piranesi

Our First Impressions readers were delighted with this speculative novel by Susanna Clarke, her first since the bestselling Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell in 2004.

What it's about:

Piranesi lives in a world enclosed by walls confining an ocean, a vast labyrinthine structure that he calls ...

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Beyond the Book

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)

In Susannah Clarke's novel Piranesi, the titular character lives in a fantastical, labyrinthine home filled with endless hallways, rooms, statues and even an ocean. It's a remarkably inventive setting, and, as our savvy First Impressions reader Lorraine D. noticed, the protagonist's name is a ...

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    The Exiles Jacket

    Seduced by her employer's son, Evangeline, a naïve young governess in early nineteenth-century London, is discharged when her pregnancy is discovered and sent to the notorious...

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