It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I have been avoiding the slew of post-election political-analytical books (even the current #1 bestseller); whether I should be or not, I am fatigued by their endless dissection. But I never grow tired of reading the way that everyday Americans have thought about the state of the union. Their fears, their hopes, their experiences; they never grow stale or overblown, but quietly urge us onward. — Katelynne Shimkus


In time for the one-year anniversary of the Trump Inauguration and the Women’s March, this provocative, unprecedented anthology features original short stories from thirty bestselling and award-winning authors—including Alice Walker, Richard Russo, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Cunningham, Mary Higgins Clark, and Lee Child—with an introduction by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen.

When Donald Trump claimed victory last November, the US literary world erupted in indignation. Many of America’s leading writers and artists openly resist the current administration’s dogma and earliest policy moves, and they’re not about to go gently into that good night. In It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art, more than thirty of the most acclaimed modern writers consider the fundamental ideals of a free, just, and compassionate democracy—through fiction.

Featuring artwork by some of today’s best known artists, cartoonists, and graphic novelists—including Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Marilyn Minter, and Eric Fischl—who cover political, social, and cultural issues, this anthology is a beautiful, enduring collection that will resonate with anyone concerned with the contest for our American soul.

About the Author

Introduced by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen and edited by writer and artist Jonathan Santlofer, It Occurs to Me That I Am America includes contributions from Mary Higgins Clark, Lee Child, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Russo, Alice Hoffman, Elizabeth Strout, Louise Erdrich, Walter Mosley, Julia Alvarez, Michael Cunningham, Art Spiegelman, Sara Paretsky, Alice Walker, Stephen L. Carter, Paul Theroux, Susan Isaacs, Ha Jin, Russell Banks, Lily King, Elinor Lipman, Heidi Pitlor, Roz Chast, Susan Minot, Joyce Maynard, Philip Gourevitch, S.J. Rozan, Edmund White, Gish Jen, Tom Piazza, Justin Torres, Angela Flournoy, Sheila Kohler, Bliss Broyard, Elizabeth Frank, James Hannaham, Mark Di Ionno, Eric Fischl, Mimi Pond, Anna Dunn, Jonathan Santlofer, Susan Crile, Bridget Hawkins, Deborah Kass, Jane Kent, Beverly McIver, Marilyn Minter, Eric Orner, Shahzia Sikander, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and David Storey.

Praise For…

“On its own, this chorus of brilliant voices articulating the shape and texture of contemporary America makes for necessary reading; that this collection also supports the ACLU, the fiercest and most noble defender of our freedoms, makes it urgent as hell.”  

“At this time in our history, it is imperative that the narratives we put forward illuminate rather than confound, elevate rather than suppress, and embrace rather than isolate. This dazzling volume of talented artists and writers, like the ACLU that it supports, does just that.”

“It’s bracing to see such a remarkable and gifted group of writers come together in support of civil liberties and American ideals at this particularly troubling time in our history.”    

“An anthology that celebrates the radical freedom of the imagination, and the power of art to redraw the lines of our shared reality.”

“If literature is ‘news that stays news’, how often do we get to see it blaze out like this, as an audacious rebuke to the headlines? These writers will help you feel proud to live in this country again.”

“This book is filled with powerful writers articulating what they care about so deeply: our country, depicted here with beauty and emergency. I hope many, many people read this book and help support democracy in this urgent moment.”

“A visceral reminder that storytelling gives us the opportunity to change our minds about strangers, and thus is an essential tool for re-teaching empathy to a nation that is trying—and hopefully, failing—to live with a closed heart.” 

It Occurs to Me That I Am America is a masterful literary achievement, one that should enter the pantheon of great books. More than a collection of fine works by some of our country’s most accomplished and talented writers and artists, it is a telling reflection of the America we have become in these troubled times and communicates a hope for the American we can be. For a nation consumed by anger and blindness, it is a critical salve to remind us all of what it means to be an American. And it should be required reading for future generations, so that the knowledge of who we are is never again forgotten.”

“There is a pitch battle in progress for the soul of our country. The writers and artists in this anthology represent a wide spectrum of views but each speaks for and to our better nature and to a vision of the United States in which all can thrive in a moment of crisis when others seek to reduce us to the worst possible, most exclusive view of our collective capacities. Their contributions are patriotism in practice. Reading and looking at their work we have reason to take heart and fight harder when the stakes could hardly be higher.”

“I can't think of a better act of #resistance than an anthology that brings together some of America's fiercest fiction writers and visual artists to reclaim our country—and our flag—from the fever dream of Trumpism. Its glories, to quote Walt Whitman, are ‘strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings.’ Read it and feel renewed.”

“Hooray for the warty, flawed, wondrously and painfully nuanced life experience that is America! A spectacular assemblage of inspired art and thought-provoking prose, at a time when we all need to be reminded of the power of story, the urgency of the current political moment, and the precious and often precarious nature of our democracy and our civil liberties.”

“Of course, not all American literature tells a tale of grace and justice. But what the best stories do have in common is their faithfulness to the deepest truths, compelling us to see our world as it is now, in all its imperfections, or else showing us what it could look like, redeemed. These artists and writers continue that grand tradition and, in this incredible volume, do so in support of our best values: the pursuit of civil liberties, the freedom to create, and the chance to live the lives we choose. It Occurs to Me That I Am America is a battle cry: We will not be silenced.”

“What a remarkable thing, to see so many names, from all over the world, giving voice to our collective story. It inspires awe and hope, like America itself.”

“When the fundamental values of our country are under attack, writers and artists pick up their pens, head to their computers, and write brilliant pieces that demonstrate the joys of our differences and the power of our shared humanity. This book entertains, charms, and supports the ACLU. I can’t think of a more delightful purchase.”

"A terrific collection of short stories and art, which you will enjoy reading even more because the book supports the ACLU.  Needed now more than ever."

“We are both thrilled and humbled to see that so many great writers and artists have come together to support the ACLU as we confront the greatest civil liberties crisis of our time. History has shown the crucial role artists play in challenging injustice during times of crisis. This anthology promises to be both a powerful tool in the fight to uphold our values and a tribute to the remarkable voices behind it.” 


Product Details
ISBN: 9781501179600
ISBN-10: 1501179608
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication Date: January 16th, 2018
Pages: 400
Language: English
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