Mastodon Righteous


03 Jan 2021 | book

Anger is an Energy.

A lot of commentary around the events of 2020 were fixated on the premise that these were unprecedented times. Where institutions failed the people they were created to serve, where elected officials failed to lead or act to protect their constituents, where tragedies were effectively non-stop. It was a terrible time. But it wasn’t the first.

It merely made more broadly available the nightmares common for centuries, in somewhat less global, less well recorded and relayed atrocities. I started to read a short book in 2020 but the resonances stopped me mid-way. It wasn’t until New Year’s Day that I was able to pick up and finish reading Tochi Onyebuchi’s Riot Baby. This was only the fault of the book, itself, in that it did such a good job of transporting me to places where terrible tragedies ignited horrifying catastrophes. At the time, that felt all too close as a model of life.

It’s a compelling read if you, like me, like stories of revenge. Stories told with rich details and the expectation that you’ll piece together some of the story which is transpiring without explicitly having it told to you. Stories which will rile your passions and then drum out a conclusion to their cadence. Stories which are set in an all too familiar present, built on a past not everyone will know.

In another time, this was probably a book I’d have read in a day or two. Not overly long, strong pacing. But it’s also sufficiently haunting of a narrative that I could step away from it for however many months it was and return it it with a full sense of what was happening.