What I’d read of [Ai's] work was raw, fearless, driven, smart, good. She wrote unnostalgically about the poor and the outcaste, openly about sex and violence but without cliché or stereotypes or in a simplistic binary politic—so that her poetry was not only about holy victims or folkloric heroes, nothing that made her people better than your people, only about inside each and every. Her work even seems to question whether cultural or racial identity can continue to exist, even as her most riveting characters were black. Cruelty was a stunning collection, as was The Killing Floor. When she won the National Book Award for Vice, it was like, It’s about time.
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on Friday, November 05, 2010 at 9:12 AM.
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