JESS ROW reads from his new book WHITE FLIGHTS


White Flights (Graywolf Press)

At the heart of White Flights, a meditation on whiteness in American fiction and culture, Jess Row ties “white flight”—the movement of white Americans into segregated communities, whether in suburbs or newly gentrified downtowns—to white writers setting their stories in isolated or emotionally insulated landscapes. Row uses brilliant close readings of work from well-known writers such as Don DeLillo, Annie Dillard, Richard Ford, and David Foster Wallace to examine the ways these and other writers have sought imaginative space for themselves at the expense of engaging with race.

White Flights aims to move fiction to a more inclusive place, and Row looks beyond criticism to consider writing as a reparative act. Row turns to the work of James Baldwin, Dorothy Allison, and James Alan McPherson to discuss interracial love in fiction, while also examining his own family heritage as a way to interrogate his position. A moving and provocative book that includes music, film, and literature in its arguments, White Flights is an essential work of cultural and literary criticism.

Praise for White Flights:

“[Jess Row] open[s] a dialogue about how white literature often ignores nonwhite experiences and narratives, and how to create a space for inclusivity that starts with the writing arena. . . . Brilliant and insightful.”—Washington Post

White Flights is required reading for white readers and white writers. The rest of us can learn something, too, about how whiteness is not just a privilege, a norm, and a benefit, but also a burden. With these superb essays, Jess Row reveals himself to be an insightful critic of both literature and the American condition.”—Viet Thanh Nguyen

“Jess Row’s fierce, tender, wondering voice is the exact sound of fiction-still-mattering, if we allow it. White Flights will change my work, and my life, and for that I’m grateful.”—Jonathan Lethem

“With care and complexity, White Flights furthers a crucial national conversation on whiteness, white spaces, and racism, and how these concepts define American literature. More than just provoking thought, this book will provoke dialogue and discussion—exactly what we all need.”—Beth Bich Minh Nguyen

“These are brilliant, sweeping, intimate delights—and afterward, you may never read the same way again.”—Alexander Chee

“We need this book, now and yesterday.”—Kiese Laymon

“Row’s work is a step toward undermining this binary classification, and an opportunity to decode all that has come before.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“Wide-ranging, erudite, and impassioned. . . . Row melds memoir, literary and cultural criticism, and philosophical reflection in seven essays that examine how whiteness is imagined and represented in ‘novels, short stories, films [and] plays.’. . . [White Flights] is a significant contribution to the cultural landscape. A disquieting, deeply thoughtful cultural critique.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Full of brilliant readings and beautifully written, this mind-altering work of criticism establishes Row as one of the preeminent cultural critics of our age.”—Booklist, starred review

“Moving outside of white literature’s often isolated and emotionally numb terrain, [Row] discusses how reparative writing can effect reconciliation. [White Flights is] for readers fascinated by race and reparative writing, now and in American history, and the transformative potential of literature to
change minds and emphasize our common humanity.”—Library Journal, starred review

“Row's writing is consistently compelling, a necessary read for anyone who wants their art to be challenging, not merely comforting.”—NYLON

“This intelligent collection is often deeply engaged in realms of philosophy and literary theory. . . .There is something for every reader . . . in the message that fiction not only reflects but acts upon real life, and that each of us is obliged to act for justice, in reading and writing as in life.”—Shelf Awareness

Jess Row is the author of the novel Your Face in Mine and the story collections The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost. One of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists of 2007, he lives in New York and teaches at the College of New Jersey.

Event date: 
Friday, September 20, 2019 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination By Jess Row Cover Image
Possibly out of print. Email or call to check availability and price.
ISBN: 9781555978327
Published: Graywolf Press - August 6th, 2019

Your Face in Mine: A Novel By Jess Row Cover Image
Possibly out of print. Email or call to check availability and price.
ISBN: 9781594633843
Published: Riverhead Books - August 4th, 2015