N.K. Jemisin’s new book begins with a virus in New York. Somehow, it’s a joyous read.

In The City We Became , the new novel by N.K. Jemisin, an infection is spreading across New York City. It spreads rapidly from person to person, and its goal is nothing less than to destroy everything that makes New York a living, breathing, vital organism. To leave it a husk of itself. The City We Became is strange to read right now in a way that Jemisin — the only person ever to win the prestigious Hugo Award three years in a row — could not possibly have predicted. The infection in her fantasy New York City is a metaphor for colonialism and bigotry and white nationalism. Meanwhile, the real New York City, where I live, has become the center of America’s coronavirus pandemic, and the literal infection here is casting existing bigotry and white nationalism into ever-sharper relief . At times, it does feel as though coronavirus […]

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