These Dark Skies

Reckoning with Identity, Violence, and Power from Abroad

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Pub Date 15 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 15 Jun 2022
University of Iowa Press, University Of Iowa Press

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Description

ESSAYS / CURRENT EVENTS

In These Dark Skies, Arianne Zwartjes interweaves the experience of living in the southern Netherlands—with her wife, who is Russian—and the unfolding of both the refugee crisis across Europe and the uptick in terrorist acts in France, Greece, Austria, Germany, and the Balkans. She probes her own subjectivity, as a white American, as a queer woman in a transcultural marriage, as a writer, and as a witness.

The essays investigate and meditate on a broad array of related topics, including drone strikes, tear gas, and military intervention; the sugar trade, the Dutch blackface celebration of Zwarte Piet, and constructions of whiteness in Europe and the U.S.; and visual arts of Russian avant-garde painters, an Iraqi choreographer living in Belgium, and German choreographer Pina Bausch.

This is a lyrical, timely book deeply salient to the political moment we continue to find ourselves in: a moment of incredible anti-refugee and anti-immigrant sentiment, a moment of xenophobic and misogynistic violence.

ESSAYS / CURRENT EVENTS

In These Dark Skies, Arianne Zwartjes interweaves the experience of living in the southern Netherlands—with her wife, who is Russian—and the unfolding of both the refugee...


Advance Praise

“Is the world already broken into pieces? Then we must find new forms of prose, new writing, to encounter it. That is what happens in Arianne Zwartjes’s remarkable book that is, at turns and at once, memoir, essay, critical reflection, poetic musing. These Dark Skies travels continents in an inch of text, travels eternity in an hour. What might seem like coincidental choreography is a masterful arranging of life-in-print that heralds—or ought to anyhow—new modes of knowing experience in a rapturous yet dangerous present.”—Kazim Ali, author, Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water

“What begins as a nuanced study and meditation on the origins, manifestations, and structures of violence soon develops into a profound exploration of the self, the self within a body, the self within a complicated and dangerous and beautiful world. In These Dark Skies, Arianne Zwartjes has woven a book of her travels and lived experiences across the globe, and in so doing Zwartjes engages the reader in a series of questions that delve into the very core of our existence as human beings. This is a remarkable, clear-eyed, necessary book, one that I will be sharing with those I love—as it will create doorways into conversations on whiteness, identity, trauma, activism, biopolitics, systemic kindness, and much, much more.”—Brian Turner, author, My Life as a Foreign Country 

“Is the world already broken into pieces? Then we must find new forms of prose, new writing, to encounter it. That is what happens in Arianne Zwartjes’s remarkable book that is, at turns and at once...


Available Editions

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ISBN 9781609388416
PRICE $19.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

This collection of essays are linked by certain elements, like the refugee crisis, terrorism and racism. Through the essays, the author questions the role of European countries, specifically her home country of the Netherlands, facing these crises. The essays are thoughtful, approaching the complexity of these topics with the sensitivity and depth they require. The explanations of these topics often draw upon artistic references, like modern dance and ballet, which I found to be a particularly interesting approach to topics that are often discussed in terms not taking into account the humans who are affected by policies and cultures.

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