Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit: Essays (Paperback)
An electric essay collection about Blackness, art, and dreaming of new possibilities in a time of constriction
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.
“The incisive prose brims with astute observations, and Sloan has a talent for drawing meaning from unexpected juxtapositions. . . . Readers will be spellbound.”—Publishers Weekly
“[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