A selection of books, films, and recordings by UChicago alumni.
Music in Eight Parts
Composed by Philip Glass, AB’56
Lot 140, sold—for $43,750! Assumed lost, Music in Eight Parts by acclaimed composer Philip Glass turned up in 2017 at Christie’s. Until recently, this work, first performed in 1970, was considered a way station for Glass en route to the famous Music in Twelve Parts. Rediscovered and recorded by Glass’s ensemble, Eight Parts showcases the turning point in the composer’s late 1960s experiments as he shifted from layering rhythms across a piece to vertically accumulating a new voice with nearly every note.
Last One Out Shut Off the Lights
By Stephanie Soileau, AB’98
The debut short story collection from Stephanie Soileau, an assistant professor of practice in the arts in UChicago’s English department and creative writing program, follows characters as they try to define themselves against Louisiana’s decaying petroleum industry. Across cloying and magnetic landscapes, Soileau tackles the life cycle, including the restless teenage mother of the first story, a cow slaughtered for a neighborhood meal in the last, and the character who begins his own origin myth: “A bayou. A wharf. Sundown. The erotic smell of barbecue, wild onion, water, sweat, rot. Time eating his children.” For more about Soileau, see the UChicagoan.
Stories of a Manchester Street
By Phil Barton and Elaine Bishop, AB’64
Neighbors in the Rusholme area of Manchester, England, held a party in 2011 when their residential street turned 100. From that celebration grew an effort to bolster community ties by gathering stories and images of the many householders who contribute to the neighborhood’s cultural and religious diversity. This collective portrait assembles the first-person narratives of Mancunians from 18 countries and four continents, using census records to link present-day residents with the original occupants of their homes. Coauthor Elaine Bishop, who has lived in Manchester since 1972, says the book shows that “multicultural communities can thrive.”
Puppetry by Manual Cinema
Using hauntingly human shadow puppets, performance collective Manual Cinema—including Drew Dir, AB’07, and Ben Kauffman, AB’09—depicts violence central to the Candyman legend. In director Nia DaCosta’s sequel to the 1992 film of the same name, a young Black visual artist living in Chicago’s gentrified Cabrini-Green neighborhood learns the story of the real Candyman and begins to paint his victims. Manual Cinema’s puppetry embodies the aesthetic spirit of the film, testifying to racist brutality through art.
Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976–1980
By Rick Perlstein, AB’92
Business and cultural conservatives unite behind the same leader. Operatives break from political norms in how they deploy new technology to win over and mobilize voters. Democrats splinter as they face a Republican running on the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Sound familiar? In the final installment of a four-volume history of modern American conservatism that began with his 2001 book on Barry Goldwater, journalist and historian Rick Perlstein excavates the seedbed of America’s contemporary political landscape.
Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry
Edited by Joanne V. Gabbin, AM’70, PhD’80, and Lauren K. Alleyne
Since organizing the first Furious Flower Poetry Conference in 1994 to honor poet Gwendolyn Brooks, James Madison University English professor Joanne V. Gabbin has gathered dozens of Black poets for two more major summits, most recently at the Furious Flower Poetry Center she established to promote Black poetry’s visibility in American letters. In this third anthology spawned by the project, the editors set out “to introduce those voices that will take us into the next three decades” of the tradition. Entries include an essay by Tyehimba Jess, AB’91, and poetry by Chanda Feldman, AB’99, and English PhD student Korey Williams, AM’14.
Stone Skimmers: Stories
By Jennifer Wisner Kelly, JD’96
From their nearby hangout, a clique of high schoolers in a tony Connecticut village watch a classmate swim every day across the local reservoir. Her mysteriousness becomes a siren’s call for one of them. Following this group from adolescence to adulthood, each story in this debut collection from Jennifer Wisner Kelly, a staff attorney with a domestic violence advocacy nonprofit, “turns on an unexplained, often violent disturbance in the lives of its characters,” says Stewart O’Nan, who selected the book for the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction.
The Magazine lists a selection of general interest books, films, and albums by alumni. For additional alumni releases, browse the Magazine’s Goodreads bookshelf.