Missives Toward A Better Day

Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times, edited by Carolina De Robertis. Vintage Books.

“TO MY FELLOW and artists; to my fellow readers and lovers of art; to my fellow believers in peace and a more perfect world ...”

Thus begins Viet Thanh Nguyen’s contribution to Radical Hope—“a collection of love letters in response to these political times.” The Pulitzer Prize winner (for The Sympathizer) goes on to describe his dreams for a new model for our society, one that includes prophecies, poets, and the people: “Those of us who would tear down walls and eradicate borders, and who believe in both inclusion and equality, need to use our talents to help build a coalition.”

The dozens of letters in Radical Hope illustrate the dreams of this diverse community of writers. Luis Alberto Urrea asks, “What if there is no Other? What if there is only Us?” Katie Kitamura writes of a future in which her daughter grows up believing in the generative power of language. Many of the writers pen poetic reflections on the beacons of light and love who have guided them, looking to the past to bring enlightenment into the next journey. In the final letter, Cristina García imagines the world seven generations from now, asking what that will look like and wishing upon her great-great-great-great-great granddaughter “adventure and loving protection.”

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