Alissa Quart is a New York-based writer and editor. With Barbara Ehrenreich, she founded and runs the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a journalism nonprofit that covers income inequality. Her most recent nonfiction book is Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America (2018); she also has a collection of poetry forthcoming from OR Books, Thoughts and Prayers. (September 2019)
In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers
by Bernice Yeung
Investigative journalist Bernice Yeung has been writing about the plight of farmworkers and maids harassed and raped by their overseers for more than five years, in places far from executive offices—fields, basements, and break rooms. Her new book, In a Day’s Work, is a bleak but much-needed addition to the literature on sexual harassment in the US.
“All my favorite singers couldn’t sing,” David Berman crooned. Berman—along with other indie greats also gone too young: the sublime, alcoholic Jason Molina of the Magnolia Electric Company or Mark Linkous from the band Sparklehorse—was openly troubled, openly poetic, openly marginal, openly sloppy, and openly democratic. He had what the writer Seymour Krim, in his famous 1971 essay on American failure and his own, called “the voice of scars and stars talking.”
Greenfield’s raw material, materialism, is candy-colored and stimulating. It is also almost uniformly depressing. In “Generation Wealth,” she shows us the self-starved bodies of the affluent young, among their parents’ magma-flow of possessions. We see their marmoreal homes, their beauty regimes, and their fathers’ younger, heliotropic second wives. The overall affect of the exhibition’s packed two floors and the accompanying book, a dense gold brick with some 650 images, is nihilism. At times, it even feels gleefully so.