Rachel Kushner went to Mexico in pursuit of her first love – motorbikes. Her wild ride of an essay collection describes living fast and free in a crowded world.
In her twenties, Kushner competed in the notorious Cabo 1000. She crashed at 130mph and miraculously survived. Soon after, she decided to leave her controlling boyfriend and manoeuvred her way into a freer new life. Her new book The Hard Crowd examines artists, writers and her own hard-living youth growing up in San Francisco, “huffing nitrous for kicks while earning $1.85 an hour”. In nineteen razor-sharp essays, she takes in friendship, loss, social justice, art and more, via the world of truckers, a Palestinian refugee camp, the American prison system, the San Francisco music scene and more.
Rachel Kushner is the author of The Mars Room, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize. Her previous novels, Telex from Cuba and The Flamethrowers, were both New York Times bestsellers.
Rachel will discuss the Hard Crowd with writer and journalist Sarah Gilmartin.
This event is part of our Forms & Influences series.
From the holy voice of Aretha Franklin to the precision of Beckett’s prose, the influences on a writers’ vision come in many guises. Forms & Influences explores the artistic minds and motivations of Rachel Kushner, Lydia Davis, André Aciman, Hanif Abdurraqib, Vivian Gornick and Salman Rushdie, celebrates the essay and traces the arc of a writer’s life, from formative years to mature reflection, through real life and artistic epiphany.
With each book a cultural playlist between hardcovers, join us and set forth on along new pathways of discovery.
IMAGE: Chloe Aftel