What does it feel like to go insane and not know why? In her memoir, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, author Susannah Cahalan describes what it is like in terrifying detail: “My body continued to stiffen as I inhaled repeatedly, with no exhale. Blood and foam began to spurt out of my mouth through clenched teeth.… This moment, my first serious blackout, marked the line between sanity and insanity. Though I would have moments of lucidity over the coming weeks, I would never again be the same person. This was the start of the dark period of my illness, as I began an existence in purgatory between the real world and a cloudy, fictitious realm made up of hallucinations and paranoia.”
In her deeply personal account of life in post-earthquake Haiti, journalist Amy Wilentz looks at how outsiders' distorted views of the country have misrepresented its culture and history and encumbered its progress.
South Africans found the unlikeliest of musical heroes in their struggle against apartheid: a Detroit-born, Mexican American guitarist named Sixto Rodriguez. The documentary Searching for Sugar Man traces Rodriguez’s rapid ascent from obscurity in Motown to mythology in Cape Town — and the equally sudden oblivion that followed.
Conservative inflexibility and liberal apathy have endangered the dream of a democratic, secure Jewish state, a prominent American Zionist argues in a new book. But for all his ideas to salvage the two-state solution, Peter Beinart seems really to be documenting its demise.
In a poignant family memoir, veteran journalist Mark Whitaker describes his long road to truth and reconciliation with his parents, a biracial couple brought together by a shared faith and torn apart by their separate frailties.
The Truongs and the Vos escaped war-ravaged Vietnam, but years later, the wounds of unspoken trauma and regrets have not healed. In a story that spans three decades across three countries, Aimee Phan’s debut novel describes the secret history of two families and the shared pain that both unites and divides them.
Best of In The Fray 2012.
Long before he was a dissident or president, Václav Havel was a playwright. His plays offer the fullest picture of the late Czech writer’s moral vision, which cast aside ideology in favor of a more authentic, more personal “truth and love.”
A look at one man’s take on the reality of Gaza through his unique brand of comic art.
Lisa See’s Shanghai Girls tells the piercingly painful tale of two sisters’ odyssey from Shanghai to San Francisco.