Dale Peck

The 15 Best Nonfiction Books of 2015

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Death and grief, love and sex, gender and race: the year’s best nonfiction demonstrates no shortage of bravery its encounters with major social, political, personal, and historical themes. Nor did these books shy away from the formal daring required to navigate those themes; in many ways, we’ve seen enough stylistic invention, reinvention, and resourcefulness in one year to last us the next five. That’s because each of these books presses into new ways of negotiating personal struggle with the promises and expectations of society. The results, as you can see, are staggering.
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The 50 Best Independent Press Books of 2015

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This was the year, as Wesley Morris pointed out in the New York Times, of “a great cultural identity migration” — it was a year we wrestled with identity. This fact is everywhere evident in our independent literature — take, for example, John Keene’s exploration of race and historical identity in Counternarratives, the year’s best work of short fiction, independent or otherwise.
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The 15 Best Nonfiction Books of the Year So Far

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From a personal examination of the modern definition of spinsterhood to an exploration of the internet’s dark and secret places, literary and journalistic nonfiction has gone to incredibly varied places this first half of the year. Here are the books that have stood out as we reach the half-year mark, all fueled by obsession and reflection, the hallmarks of the …Read More

‘Til Human Voices Wake Us: Dale Peck’s ‘Visions and Revisions’ in the Age of AIDS

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Visions and Revisions, the title of Dale Peck’s new memoir about coming of age as a writer — as a person — during the AIDS crisis, might seem like a strange one from a novelist, critic, and essayist who once maligned literary modernism and its descendants. Only it isn’t. The title comes, as many readers will know, from T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” perhaps the 20th century’s greatest literary work devoted to sexual indecision. This is fitting for Peck, whose memoir is embroidered with the sexual indecisions brought about by the AIDS crisis, which, the book reminds us, was a matryoshka doll of other crises, both public and private, theoretical and practical, cultural and political — all of which threatened to overwhelm the writer. The subtitle of the first section: “And in short I was afraid.”
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