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  • Published: 13 April 2021
  • ISBN: 9781787333109
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $32.99

The Hard Crowd

Essays 2000-2020




From the Booker-shortlisted author, a wild ride of an essay collection about living fast and free in a crowded world, with all the brilliance of THE FLAMETHROWERS and THE MARS ROOM

From the Booker-shortlisted author of The Mars Room, a career-spanning collection of spectacular essays about politics and culture.

Rachel Kushner is a writer celebrated for her 'chops, ambition, and killer instinct' (John Powers, Fresh Air). In The Hard Crowd, she gathers a selection of her writing from over the course of the last twenty years that addresses the most pressing political, artistic, and cultural issues of our times - and illuminates the themes and real-life terrain that underpin her fiction.

In nineteen razor-sharp essays, The Hard Crowd spans literary journalism, memoir, cultural criticism, and writing about art and literature, including pieces on Jeff Koons, Denis Johnson, and Marguerite Duras. Kushner takes us on a journey through a Palestinian refugee camp, an illegal motorcycle race down the Baja Peninsula, 1970s wildcat strikes in Fiat factories, her love of classic cars, and her young life in the music scene of her hometown, San Francisco. The closing, eponymous essay is her manifesto on nostalgia, doom, and writing.

These pieces, new and old, are electric, phosphorescently vivid, and wry, and they provide an opportunity to witness the evolution and range of one of the world's most dazzling and fearless writers.

  • Published: 13 April 2021
  • ISBN: 9781787333109
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Rachel Kushner

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 and finalists for the National Book Award. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s and the Paris Review. She lives in Los Angeles.

Also by Rachel Kushner

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Praise for The Hard Crowd

The Hard Crowd is wild, wide-ranging and unsparingly intelligent throughout.

Vogue *Best Books to Read in 2021*

She's going to be one we turn to for our serious pleasures and for the insight and wisdom we'll be needing in hard times to come.

Robert Stone

I honestly don't know how she is able to know so much (about motorcycle racing, Italian radical politics) and convey all of it in such a completely entertaining and mesmerizing way.

George Saunders

She seems to work with a muse and a nail gun, so surprisingly yet forcefully do her sentences pin reality to the page.

Kathryn Schulz, New York Magazine

Kushner can really write. Her prose has a poise and wariness and moral graininess that put you in mind of Robert Stone and Joan Didion. This wariness lurks beneath a sensibility that's on constant alert for crazy, sensual, often ravaged beauty.

Dwight Garner, New York Times

One of America's most exciting writers . . . A brilliant collection of art and literary criticism, reportage, and autobiography.

Daily Telegraph

New Journalism given a new lease of life . . . And then there's the frank pleasure of her sentences . . . I'm glad to taste something this sharp, this smart.

Olivia Laing, Observer

With characteristic confidence and poise, Kushner unpicks highly charged issues.

Chiara Rimella, Monocle

Decidedly erudite . . . The Hard Crowd shows a writer intent on tackling each object of scrutiny with an unsentimental eye, not seeking to come to conclusions, but to sit with the problems that may emerge.

Katie da Cunha Lewin, Financial Times

Kushner at her most freewheeling . . . Luminously beautiful . . . 'The Hard Crowd', which closes the book, allows us to see how Kushner has evolved over the twenty-year span of this collection.

Michael LaPointe, Times Literary Supplement

She writes as well as any writer alive about the pleasure of a good motor doing what it was designed to do . . . Cool and wise, with real power and control . . . This book has a real gallery of souls . . . As strong a statement about artistic purpose and sensibility as I've read in a while.

Dwight Garner, New York Times

If you want to ride in a famous motorcycle race, then hang out with Keith Richards in 1990s San Francisco and finally consider the work of Marguerite Duras - and who wouldn't? - all you have to do is pick up this wide-ranging book of journalism.

Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post

Rachel Kushner's dauntless essays [are] all propelled by a singular and ferocious curiosity.

Cornelia Channing, Vulture

Kushner proves as shrewd and daring in her essays as she is in her fiction, and a reader gets the same sense of tagging along with an author who has slept rough, thought hard, and gotten into her car to drive out and witness an event with her own two eyes . . . [A] dazzling collection.

Christpher Bollen, Interview

This vitalizing essay collection . . . illuminate[s Kushner's] adventurous life and why and how she developed the skills to write about it with such breath-catching clarity and polished rigor, the literary equivalent of the fine-tuned mechanics of the motorcycles and classic cars she treasures . . . leaving her passengers exultant and enlightened.

Donna Seaman, Booklist *Starred Review*

Come for the sharp portraits of Jeff Koons and Denis Johnson, the blistering reportage from refugee camps and illegal motorcycle races, or the light-with-laughter-yet-heavy-with-yearning paeans to classic cars and the San Francisco indie scene of the 1980s; stay for the opportunity to witness the maturation of one of the most intelligent and distinctive literary sensibilities of our time.

Emily Firetog, Lithub

Award-winning novelist Kushner . . . who's also turned toward criminal-justice-reform activism, shifts modes with an essay collection that promises something for all who love her work. (Yes, there will be motorcycles).

Entertainment Weekly

The Hard Crowd is a vibrant love letter to the people who have inspired her... [Kushner is] as bold and adventurous in her writing as she has been in her life.

Erica Wagner, Harper's Bazaar

Rachel Kushner's wonderful new book The Hard Crowd is a personal favourite . . . It's an exhilarating, voracious collection.

Martin Colthorpe, Irish Times

A compelling collection... The Hard Crowd is a portal into the lived experience of one of America's finest contemporary writers.

Fred Kelly, Tablet

Collected over twenty years her [Kushner's] wry and vivid writing offer a fascinating insight into the themes and thinking that underpin her fiction.

A Little Bird, *Summer Reads of 2021*

The Hard Crowd is not so much Kushner's own memoir as a group biography of recklessness... Who better to narrate the lives of wrecked souls than the one who kept her head, storing up details of the wreckage?... [Rachel Kushner is] a vessel for excitement - the voice of a brood of Californian kids, a kind of Joan Didion for our times.

Amber Husain, White Review

Kushner's first essay collection jostled through the colourful events and characters that have informed her fiction. It's quite the ride.

Mr Porter, *Summer Reads of 2021*

Rachel Kushner's essays have a way of grabbing you by the neck and pulling you into places you'd never normally go... The Hard Crowd is a great book.

Steven Long, Crack Magazine

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