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Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit

Author 1
Aisha Sabatini Sloan
This collection of innovative, penetrating, and lively essays features swimming pools and poets, road trips and museums, family dinners and celebrity sightings. In a voice that is at once piercing, mournful, and slyly comic, Aisha Sabatini Sloan inhabits several roles: she is an art enthusiast in Los Angeles during a city-wide manhunt; a daughter on a road trip with her father; a professor playing with puppets in the wilds of Vermont; an interloper on a police ride-along in Detroit; a collector of the dreams of scientists at a biostation. As she watches cell phone video recordings of murder and is haunted in her sleep by the news, she reflects on her formative experiences with aesthetic and spiritual discovery, troubling those places where Blackness has been conflated with death.

Sabatini Sloan’s lively style is perfectly suited to the way she circles a subject or an idea before cinching it tight. The curiosity that guides each essay, focusing on the period between the 2016 election and the onset of the pandemic, is rooted in the supposition that there is an intrinsic relationship between the way we conceptualize darkness and our collective opportunity for awakening.

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An electric essay collection about Blackness, art, and dreaming of new possibilities in a time of constriction

About the Author

Aisha  Sabatini Sloan
Credit: Hannah Ensor
Aisha Sabatini Sloan is the author of The Fluency of Light, Borealis, and Captioning the Archives. Her work has appeared in Guernica, the Paris Review, and the New York Times, among other places, and she teaches at the University of Michigan.
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  • “[Sabatini Sloan] brings to her writing a lively curiosity . . . in pieces notable for surprising and revealing juxtapositions. An enlightening gallery of spirited essays.”—Kirkus Reviews
  • “Sloan’s reflections are robust and poetic, her writing like lucid dreaming. I was rapt with this book.”—Karla J. Strand, Ms. Magazine 
  • “The 13 essays in Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit deftly approach an array of topics, each building in collage-like fashion a revelatory, often startling reflection around a central subject or theme that pulls personal experience, research, and sharp observation into a vortex that ultimately holds together and gives us a way of seeing — if but for an instant — the shimmering complexity and interconnectedness of the world.”—Yelizaveta P. Renfro, Washington Independent Review of Books
  • “This collection as a whole forms an elegant, intricate tapestry. . . . It's a collage of experiences, research, quotations, anecdotes—personal revelations and scholarly observations that refuse to omit the violence and oppression that serves as our constant visible or invisible frame, or let it take up the frame entirely.”—Heather Bowlan, The Anarchist Review of Books
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