CALLTHEMBYTHEIRNAMES REBECCA SOLNIT Granta, £12.99
Solnit should be read by anyone with an interest in where we find ourselves and what direction we could be headed: “the revolt against brutality begins with a revolt against the language that hides that brutality”. Solnit holds a precise pen, and any fixed positions a reader may have on, say, Hillary Clinton, are likely to shift under her nudging. Some commentators jab a finger in your shoulder. Solnit takes you to one side with sense and sensibility. She never needs to raise her voice; there is little flash or fury in the writing. The US is the ground on which these works stand but themes are universal – social justice, the environment, the big baby inside the White House – and Solnit’s references are wide, from the 1916 Easter Rising to Kenny Rogers. A clear brook of reasoning in the opinionated deluge of calumny that makes up many of our debates.