Friday, May 7, 2021

Rachel Kushner remembers her hard-rocking friends, many of whom went

“The Hard Crowd” – a collection of essays written over the last 20 years – is a testimony to both Kushner’s experience and the breadth of his intellectual beliefs.

Kushner has several essays of research for his last two novels, “The Flemthrowers” and “The Mars Room” – the ambitious work, the first, in the 1970s, the second jump between Red Brigade Italy and the New York art stripper. Narrated who is serving two life imprisonment sentences at a correctional facility in the Central Valley. (Kushner’s essay “Is Jail Necessary ?,” Included in this collection is painstakingly insensitive, using a profile of a prison abolition and Ruth Wilson Gilmore, a prison abolitionist and professor of “caesarral geography”, to explain that most of the arguments for abolition are based on faulty facts Based on why, and yet why we don’t need its creation is a society where disarray has no consequences.) Other essays range from Marguerite Durrus and Clarice Lispector to Dennis Johnson – authors of “Total Spirits.” Managed to find the truth in the rubble.

The most heroic and moving ensemble in “The Hard Crowd” is dedicated to Nanny Balisterini, an Italian writer and political activist who translated Marx’s practice of “inquiry” – a questionnaire on the lives of workers distributed at factory gates. – In the late 20th century experimental narrative, the creation of devious vivid novels of proletarian awakening and rebellion, which describe Kushner approaching the oral and heroic traditions of epic poetry.

His charm is due to courtesy gestures, physical courage (the fugitive Balisterini escapes to Italy by skiing Mont Blanc in 1979, although it is not certain if he has ever skied before) and perhaps for lost reasons. Controversial political movements in this book, disintegrated rock groups are at large. Kushner is unusual in combining his taste for “old, grumpy America” ​​of desert highways, old cars, autodidact loaners with a grounding in 20th century European thought, interested in the ways in which the class struggled on the continent. . Filtered in industrial action, armed rebellion or documentary art. These competing aesthetic / moral varieties are as double whammy in Kushner’s prose: a narrative voice rich in hip, raspberries, caustic or deadpan one-liners, and a moral of almost wide-eyed “permeability” that feels painful. Is responsible for making mistakes of history.

Kushner interviewed Nanny Balisterini a few years before his death. He picks her up at the airport in Rome, an old man wearing beautiful “driving moccasins” who are more interested in enjoying their lunches, choosing a good wine, about Potter Operaio (Workers’ Power) Compared to questioning in, the political leader he helped in 1968, but in the end, he trusts and tells him what he sees as a perpetual “imperative”: we need to change the world, and It is possible, necessary and necessary. “

Like Balestrini, Kushner believes that we need to change the world, and like Balestrini, she doesn’t see why she can’t get a good story out of it.

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