Truman Capote got it right when he called In Cold Blood a “nonfiction novel.” He was suggesting that the great strength of novels is precisely that they can give us, through the transformative magic of narrative and imagination, deeper insights into those human truths that matter most.
On through André Bernard’s “The Casual Reader,” Don Lee’s poignant “A Preference for Native Tongue,” M. Allen Cunningham’s hilarious and sad “Twelve Monthly Devotions,” and ending with William Walsh’s “When Language Fails: An Interview with Eamon Grennan.”
There was much else that I read within the pages but these were the pieces that stuck with me the longest, particularly Randy Fertel’s heartbreaking and yet hopeful “Katrina Five Ways” (which should be a must read for everyone):
After Katrina, pundits wondered aloud how our forefathers could have been so foolish to think that technology could hold back the sea from a city half below sea level. But, of course we built on the drained backswamps. Our imperial view of nature was our hubris–or stupidity if you will–but it was America’s hubris and stupidity writ small. In this, as in so much else, New Orleans is the soul of America.