Stranger Faces

by Namwali Serpell (Author)
Excerpt
EPUB
Unlimited loans, One at a time
Details

National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

A New Yorker Best Book of 2020

"Wise, warm, witty and dizzyingly wide-ranging."—The New York Times

"Serpell’s vital treatise is one readers will find themselves returning to again and again."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

If evolutionary biologists, ethical philosophers, and social media gurus are to be believed, the face is the basis for what we call "humanity." The face is considered the source of identity, truth, beauty, authenticity, and empathy. It underlies our ideas about what constitutes a human, how we relate emotionally, what is pleasing to the eye, and how we ought to treat each other. But all of this rests on a specific image of the face. We might call it the ideal face.

What about the strange face, the stranger's face, the face that thwarts recognition? What do we make of the face that rides the line of legibility? In a collection of speculative essays on a few such stranger faces—the disabled face, the racially ambiguous face, the digital face, the face of the dead—Namwali Serpell probes our contemporary mythology of the face. Stranger Faces imagines a new ethics based on the perverse pleasures we take in the very mutability of faces.

Publication date
September 29, 2020
Publisher
Collection
ISBN
9781945492471
Paper ISBN
9781945492433
File size
1 MB