WENDY S. WALTERS'S MULTIPLY/DIVIDE HITS SHELVES THIS AUGUST AND HAS BEEN CHOSEN FOR THE AUGUST 2015 INDIE NEXT LIST AS WELL AS THE FLAVORWIRE 10 MUST-READ BOOKS FOR AUGUST.
"Perhaps the book this year that best aligns itself with Kenneth Burke’s idea of stories as “equipment for living,” Walters’s Multiply/Divide bends the boundaries of fiction, nonfiction, and lyrical essay, while at the same time crossing osmotically through the hyper-realities of American life—especially those guiding matters of race and gender."
In Multiply/Divide, Walters sifts through the weird, quietly horrifying wreckage that structural racism has left behind in everyday American life and presents something like a mythology, but stranger because, of course, it is real, and we have never known life without it. Her prose is as clear as day, her stories are candid, and only a poet could have written a book of essays like this. City by city, over radio waves and under the street, Walters beautifully maps for us what should have been obvious: that nearly all of our heartbreak—and even our joy—is rooted in this mythology.”
—Daniel Poppick, BookCourt
"Multiply/Divide is an urgent examination of the constructs—cities, selves, the groups we align ourselves with—that order our lives. Fittingly, Walters's collection is a hybrid blending fact and fiction, the personal and the political, in order to confront fully, free of the limitations of genre, just what it means to be disenfranchised in America. I recommend it highly."
—Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books
"Multiply/Divide is the perfect title for this book, in which Wendy S. Walters brandishes not only fierce moral imagination but, even more impressively, profound human complicity. I’m a besotted fan.”
"In these bold, quirky, intimate, experimental essays, the author both fearlessly discloses the personal and embeds her individuality in the larger dilemmas of the historical moment. Wendy S. Walters's sense of humor and sharp intelligence, her ability to move from the micro to the macro, her balance between outrage and wonderment, make for very lively company indeed."
"Lyric invention, historical inquiry, elegy, allegory, dialogue, and confession: these essays are astonishing. Wendy S. Walters is a solitary traveler who contains and confronts multitudes. No contradiction goes unexplored; no question goes unasked. Complexities multiply and divide; new possibilities arise. This is a wondrous and uncanny book."
"An intense longing drives this spell-binding collection from Wendy S. Walters. Exploring the full range of the essay’s forms, Walters discovers and names the often troubling ways race and class inform what it means to belong—in a place, a community, even in the bodies we inherit at birth. Alternately unsettling and revealing, Multiply/Divide is an important contribution to a conversation that is long overdue."
—Lacy M. Johnson
In the manner of Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Wendy S. Walters deftly explores the psyches of cities such as Chicago, Manhattan, Portsmouth, and Washington D.C. Her approach is varied, intimate, and inventive. In “Cleveland,” she interviews an African-American playwright who draws great reviews, but can’t muster an audience. An on-air telephone chat between a DJ and his listeners drives a discussion of race and nutrition in “Chicago Radio.” In “Manhattanville” the author, out for a walk with her biracial son, is mistaken for his nanny. There’s even a fable, imagining a black takeover of Norway. All of these pieces explore societal questions–how eras of immense growth can leave us unable to prosper from that growth, how places intended for safety become fraught with danger, and how race and gender bias threaten our communities. Walters’s haunting utterances are beautifully precise estimations of a place and its people.