RaveThe Atlanta Journal ConstitutionNow comes Rachel Marie-Crane Williams’ book, Elegy for Mary Turner: An Illustrated Account of a Lynching. It retells the story in a manner at once unflinching, and, at turns, delicate. The delicacy is owed to Williams’ rendering. The book resembles a vintage scrapbook or diary, perhaps discovered years ago in an old chest of drawers by a descendant of the madness, then placed in a box and shoved under a bed because its contents were abominable.
PositiveThe Minneapolis Star Tribune...a deeply honest witness, often heartbreaking and always breathtaking ... Self-doubt and loathing become a corporeal presence that hounds her and at times overwhelms the reader. There are few chapters or even pages where Gay doesn’t criticize herself. By the middle of the book it felt relentless, so much so that I wrote in a margin, 'Lord, help her find peace.' I hadn’t become insentient to her pain, but I had become weary of the self-flagellation ... Hunger is about Gay’s craving and the way the culture denies it. It is a clear-eyed assessment of a life crippled early. Gay is one of our most vital essayists and critics.