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Eddie Conway and Paul Coates on February 20, 2020

These Brothers Chose Well

Writer, editor, and prison activist Susie Day has written a beautiful, heartrending, and inspiring account of the friendship between Paul Coates and Eddie Conway. Both were born in the late 1940s and grew up in Black communities—Paul in Philadelphia and Eddie in Baltimore. Both were members of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and early ’70s, and both were harassed by police for their radical activities as Party members. Eddie was wrongfully convicted of killing a Baltimore policeman and spent forty-four years in prison. Through it all, Paul was his steadfast friend and supporter, as well as partner in their political development and commitment to the liberation of Black people in the United States. | more…

A demonstration in Oporto in April 25, 1983

What We Recovered in the Revolution

Álvaro Cunhal's Five Days, Five Nights

A prolific political writer, Álvaro Cunhal—leader of Portugal’s Communist Party for half a century and central figure of the 1974 Carnation Revolution—revealed in 1994 that he had also written several novels under the pseudonym Manuel Tiago. One of these novels, Five Days, Five Nights, was only translated into and published in English in 2020. The novella manages to capture the complexities, loneliness, and bravery of ordinary people, highlighting how we are the ones who keep us safe. | more…

Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia by Alexander Bogdanov

Red Star

Coexistence in Alexander Bogdanov's Utopia

Alexander Bogdanov’s Red Star, published in 1908, was an attempt to reenergize the dejected revolutionaries whose efforts had been crushed during the 1905 Russian Revolution. The protagonist, Leonid, is a Russian revolutionary chosen, in the midst of the revolution, by the Martian expedition to visit their planet and learn about the centuries-old advanced form of communism there. Since the triumph of communism in Russia was the cause to which Leonid had decided to devote his life, he agrees to visit Mars so that he can absorb their ideas and principles. | more…

Medicine Stories: Essays for Radicals

Healing the Hurricane in Our Chest

Healing through the stories we rescue and the history we make is what Aurora Levins Morales’s Medicine Stories: Essays for Radicals is about. The author, a historian curandera, compiled a series of twenty-eight essays in this second edition, published twenty years after the first. Levins Morales theorizes movements for social justice and how to overcome challenges faced by activists and all those fighting and resisting oppression. She does this through accounts of her studies, personal experiences, and social conditions, providing a view of the world that allows collective healing and encourages it in others through a comprehensive understanding of history. | more…

Copenhagen house' (John Gale Jones; Joseph Priestley; William Hodgson; John Thelwell; Charles James Fox), by James Gillray (died 1815), published 1795

The Trial of Thomas Hardy

A Forgotten Chapter in the Working-Class Fight for Democratic Rights

November 5, 2019, is the 225th anniversary of the acquittal of Thomas Hardy on charges of High Treason. Hardy is nearly forgotten today, but for decades workers and democrats in England celebrated November 5 as the anniversary of a major victory, a triumph over a powerful state that had deployed immense resources to crush working-class organizations and suppress popular demands for democratic rights. | more…

The Man Who Fell From the Sky

Race and Mystery in Cape Cod

In Bill Fletcher Jr.’s first novel, The Man Who Fell from the Sky, the sleepy Cape Cod town of Osterville has blood on its hands. In this murder mystery, Fletcher digs through layers of racism in Southern Massachusetts to uncover more than the killer’s identity. The novel compellingly exposes the racism of society, turning its victims against each other. | more…

Trump 1984

Trump’s America

Rethinking 1984 and Brave New World

With the rise of Donald Trump, U.S. politics has descended, like never before, into a theater of the absurd. Unbridled anti-intellectualism, deception, and “vindictive chaos” recall a morally reprehensible past in the guise of “making America great again.” But despite his populist posturing, Trump’s contempt for democratic processes is matched by his commitment to economic policies that favor the financial elite. | more…

Harbors Rich in Ships: The Selected Revolutionary Writings of Miroslav Krleža, Radical Luminary of Modern World Literature

Harbors Rich in Ships: The Selected Revolutionary Writings of Miroslav Krleža, Radical Luminary of Modern World Literature

Miroslav Krleža was a giant of Yugoslav literature, yet remarkably little of his writing has appeared in English. In a body of work that spans more than five dozen books, including novels, short stories, plays, poetry, and essays, Krleža steadfastly pursued a radical humanism and artistic integrity. Harbors Rich in Ships gives English-speaking readers an unprecedented opportunity to appreciate the astonishing breadth of Krleža’s literary creations. Beautifully translated by Željko Cipriš, this collection of seven representative early texts introduces a new audience to three stories from Krleža’s renowned antimilitarist book, The Croatian God Mars; an autobiographical sketch; a one-act play; a story from his collection of short stories, One Thousand and One Deaths; and his signature drama, The Glembays, a satirical account of the crime-ridden origins of one of Zageb’s most aristocratic families. | more…

Someone Has To Die

A Working-Class Sherlock

Timothy Sheard, the Lenny Moss mystery series (New York: Hardball).

At its best, the art of fiction reveals the underlying truth of human relations: we are communal and collaborative by nature. Selfishness and greed are social aberrations because, ultimately, they violate the principle of self-preservation. No wonder we are drawn to crime stories: they mirror our common experience. Capitalism is high crime disguised as church doctrine. Conspiracy is evident, though the evidence is concealed. Hence, our fascination with the detective genre. We are in dire need of Timothy Sheard’s scrutiny—a detective who peers through a working-class eyeglass. | more…

“Realists of a Larger Reality”

On New Science Fiction

Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.

—Ursula K. Le Guin

Le Guin is undoubtedly right about resistance in the “real” world, but in reading, only some books offer a call to resistance and the possibilities of a new reality. Among the books considered here, some come to us as “literary fiction”; others are marked as belonging to another, historically denigrated, form, “science fiction” or “fantasy.” This could be a distinction without a difference: two are near-future dystopian novels about corporate capitalism in the United States (both by well-established white authors); two are collections of near-future short stories that set out to critique the human powers that structure our world (written by both established and new voices, primarily writers of color). But the books that embrace rather than evade their status as science fiction or fantasy are the ones able to imagine the resistance and change that Le Guin invokes. | more…

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