Friday, July 5, 2013

Hilton Als' new book, White Girls, features Louise Brooks

White Girls (McSweeney's) is one of two new books coming from renown critic Hilton Als. It and The Group (Farrar Straus & Giroux) are both due in November, right around Louise Brooks' birthday on November 14th.

I haven't yet seen a copy, and only learned of it recently. In an email, Als wrote "She was the greatest and appears in my new book coming out in November from McSweeney's."

Here is the publisher description: "White Girls, Hilton Als’ first book since The Women fourteen years ago, finds one of The New Yorker's boldest cultural critics deftly weaving together his brilliant analyses of literature, art, and music with fearless insights on race, gender, and history. The result is an extraordinary, complex portrait of “white girls,” as Als dubs them—an expansive but precise category that encompasses figures as diverse as Truman Capote and Louise Brooks, Malcolm X and Flannery O’Connor. In pieces that hairpin between critique and meditation, fiction and nonfiction, high culture and low, the theoretical and the deeply personal, Als presents a stunning portrait of a writer by way of his subjects, and an invaluable guide to the culture of our time."

Hilton Als (born 1960) is an American writer and theater critic who writes for The New Yorker magazine. Als is a former staff writer for The Village Voice and former editor-at-large at Vibe magazine.

His 1996 book, The Women, focuses on his mother, who raised him in Brooklyn, Dorothy Dean, and Owen Dodson, who was a mentor and lover of Als. In the book, Als explores his identification of the confluence of his ethnicity, gender and sexuality, moving from identifying as a "Negress" and then an "Auntie Man", a Barbadian term for homosexuals.

Als received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2000 for creative writing and the 2002–03 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. In 2004 he won the Berlin Prize of the American Academy in Berlin. He has taught at Smith College, Wesleyan, and Yale University, and his work has also appeared in The Nation, The Believer, and the New York Review of Books.

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