Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

White Flights

Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination
Jess Row
White Flights is a meditation on whiteness in American fiction and culture from the end of the civil rights movement to the present. At the heart of the book, Jess Row ties “white flight”—the movement of white Americans into segregated communities, whether in suburbs or newly gentrified downtowns—to white writers setting their stories in isolated or emotionally insulated landscapes, from the mountains of Idaho in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping to the claustrophobic households in Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections. Row uses brilliant close readings of work from well-known writers such as Don DeLillo, Annie Dillard, Richard Ford, and David Foster Wallace to examine the ways these and other writers have sought imaginative space for themselves at the expense of engaging with race.

White Flights aims to move fiction to a more inclusive place, and Row looks beyond criticism to consider writing as a reparative act. What would it mean, he asks, if writers used fiction “to approach each other again”?  Row turns to the work of James Baldwin, Dorothy Allison, and James Alan McPherson to discuss interracial love in fiction, while also examining his own family heritage as a way to interrogate his position. A moving and provocative book that includes music, film, and literature in its arguments, White Flights is an essential work of cultural and literary criticism.
 

Share Title

$16.00
ISBN
978-1-55597-832-7
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Pages
328
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.25
A bold, incisive look at race and reparative writing in American fiction, by the author of Your Face in Mine
 

About the Author

Jess  Row
Credit: Sarah Shatz
Jess Row is the author of White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination, as well as the novel Your Face in Mine and the story collections The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost. White Flights is his first book of nonfiction. One of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists of 2007, he lives in New York and teaches at the College of New Jersey.

https://jessrow.wordpress.com/
More by author

Upcoming Events

Jess Row reading at McNally Jackson SoHo

Date:
Location:
McNally Jackson in New York, NYview map
In conversation with John Keene and Fiona McCrae.

Jess Row reading at The Ivy Bookshop

Date:
Location:
Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore, MDview map
In conversation with Ailish Hopper.

Jess Row reading at Politics & Prose Bookstore

Date:
Location:
Politics & Prose in Washington, DCview map
 In conversation with Rion Amilcar Scott.

Jess Row reading at Greenlight Bookstore

Date:
Location:
Greenlight Bookstore Prospect Lefferts Gardens in Brooklyn, NYview map
In conversation with Yahdon Israel. 

Jess Row reading at Harvard Bookstore

Date:
Location:
Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, MAview map
In conversation with Gish Jen.

Jess Row appearing at New York Public Library

Date:
Location:
New York Public Library in New York, NYview map

Jess Row appearing at Literary Swag Bookclub, Brooklyn

Date:
Location:

Jess Row appearing at Arizona State University

Date:
Location:
Arizona State Univ in Tempe, AZview map
In conversation with Matt Bell. 

Jess Row appearing at Pomona College

Date:
Location:
Pomona College in Claremont, CAview map
In conversation with Jonathan Lethem, Prageeta Sharma, Valorie Thomas, and Kyla Wazana Tompkins.

Jess Row appearing at Skylight Books

Date:
Location:
Skylight Books in Los Angeles, CAview map
In conversation with Brian Evenson. 

Jess Row appearing at Twenty Stories Books Book

Date:
Location:

Jess Row appearing at University of Chicago

Date:
Location:
University of Chicago in Chicago, ILview map
In conversation with Rachel Galvin.

Jess Row appearing at University of Chicago

Date:
Location:
University of Chicago in Chicago, ILview map

Jess Row appearing at University of Michigan

Date:
Location:
University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MIview map
In conversation with Peter Ho Davies.

Jess Row appearing at NYU Institute for Public Knowledge

Date:
Location:
NYU Institute for Public Knowledge in New York, NYview map
 Inn conversation with Eric Klinenberg. Location: Institute for Public Knowledge 

Praise

  • “Row has produced a thoughtful and timely meditation that serves as a call to white writers.”Pop Matters
     
  • “This intelligent collection is often deeply engaged in realms of philosophy and literary theory. . . . There is something for every reader . . . in the message that fiction not only reflects but acts upon real life, and that each of us is obliged to act for justice, in reading and writing as in life.”Shelf Awareness
     
  • “With these superb essays, Jess Row reveals himself to be an insightful critic of both literature and the American condition.”—Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • “Jess Row performs a much-needed analysis. . . . The landscape of the imagination, like the country itself, he argues with rich insight and brio, is neither equal nor free.”—John Keene
Back to Table of Contents