Review

All about the heart and mind

By Tj Collins
February 5 2021 - 1:00pm
A school in Topeka, Kansas. Picture: Shutterstock
  • The Topeka School, by Ben Lerner. Granta, $39.99.

Imagine a world without language. At least, imagine a world where language exists but is no longer capable of performing its communicative function. At this point, it's hardly a tough ask. I mean, look around. Ours is a world in which language is under threat from all quarters, including one you'd least expect. For four years the media has laboured to find euphemistic alternatives to "corrupt", "misogynistic" and "racist" to describe America's Lunatic in Chief. Even as protests against police brutality swept the US this year, we heard an awful lot about "racial tensions", "race-based appeal" and "racially charged" rhetoric, but very little about the president's demonstrated racism. As for his bold-faced lies, it was only when the fate of the republic seemed to be on the line in the first week of November that the media finally decided, en masse and in prime time, to call out his base dishonesty. Better late than never, I suppose.

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