Opinions: A Decade of Arguments, Criticism, and Minding Other People’s Business

Harper. Oct. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780063341463. $30. LIT
Readers seek out opinion writing for clarity, to align with or dissent from a writer’s ideas, and thus, to illuminate their own thoughts. These are memoirist (Hunger), essayist (Bad Feminist), and publisher Gay’s best essays from 2013 to 2023 on topics including politics, race, culture, and feminism. The point is not to see how her opinions evolve on these topics, because they don’t, really. They’re the products of deeply held values and are expressed with care. The point is to follow her through a decade like no other and to gain clarity on the issues that meant the most to Gay during that time, by collating her best work on, say, American politics from 2013 onward, as loss succeeds loss. In this, the collection delivers sobering clarity about cumulative cultural trauma. Gay’s essays are brilliant and incisive. With the weight of the subject matter, especially in the early sections of the book, her wicked sense of humor may be overlooked.
VERDICT Each piece on its own is worthy of attention. Taken collectively, this title is not to be missed.
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