An excerpt of my novel, a couple short pieces, a 👋
as most of you already know, I spent a lot of the last decade writing a novel about life––marriage, friendship, work, daily routines––in the long shadows of post-9/11 rendition and torture. It’s called Planes, it’s set in Rome and North Carolina, and it’s being published by Knopf in May. Hopefully the world will allow for some fun in-person events.
For now, there’s a long excerpt of the book in the winter issue of The Point. It was The Point that published (in 2019) my reporting about Chicago high school students trying to understand their city’s police torture scandals. Figuring out how to write that piece was an important step in figuring out how to finish Planes. So it’s extra meaningful to me to have the excerpt run there. I’ve always been a little dubious about the practice of magazines slicing up novels for excerpts, but I (completely unbiased!) think The Point did a good job picking out sections that work well together––and without the rest of the book around them.
The full excerpt is available online, but the absolute best way to read it is in the magazine’s attractive print issue. Consider going to thepointmag.com to subscribe, or to buy the individual print issue, or to find a bookstore that will sell it to you. Even if you’re not going to read the excerpt (because, say, you’re already committed to reading the book––a position I totally respect!), I recommend The Point, and the new issue looks especially good.
I’ll be sharing more about the book in the months to come. It’s already available for pre-order if you’re interested.
Also: That 2019 Point piece about Chicago police torture is one of 39 nominees from around the world for the True Story Award, a relatively new global prize specifically for narrative journalism with essayistic qualities. (!) The prize proceedings have been postponed many times now thanks to Covid, but they’re supposed to happen at a writing festival in Bern, Switzerland, now re-re-scheduled for June ‘22. Whether or not it ever actually happens, it’s been something nice to look forward to.
Also: I recently wrote two short pieces for “Screenland,” the New York Times Magazine column devoted to screen-based cultural moments / artifacts. The first was about a Ford ad directed by Chloé Zhao, of “Nomadland” fame (and, along the way, about the false idol of frictionless climate adaptation). The more recent one was about PR videos cooked up by Citizen, an extremely popular, extremely creepy app that sends you constant alerts about possible nearby dangers/crimes.