Why does a writer write? Sometimes for love, sometimes for money, sometimes to impress someone, sometimes for fame, sometimes for revenge and/or justice. A true writer may also desire love, justice, and security (to do the work he/she loves best), but above all, a true writer writes because he can’t help it, because NOT to write would be untrue to himself.
And yet, when I read a review like this–”An impressive book that gave words to my own experience. I loved reading his book and I have sent it to other friends as a gift” (amazon.com)–it is a special joy. This is a book that “gave words to [someone else's] experience”, and so moved this person as to gift the book to others.
Giving words to one’s own experience is an achievement in itself. Writing a book is an immensely difficult task, for me. I am not a book factory like James Patterson. And yet, if in the process one has also given words to other people’s experience, that is an additional joy. .
Yet another review, on amazon.in, from an Indian who has lived abroad: “Brilliant writing … finished this book in one session.” (He also has praise for “Eaten by the Japanese”, which he also read in a day.)
I can understand that this book was something that many white people refused to acknowledge the truth of (though the friend who helped me produce a booklet containing the initial essays was a white American who angrily told me, “Don’t weaken it! Don’t compromise!”), because, until recently, it was not cool to talk about racism, which was considered a historic mistake, as we now lived in a post-racial society. But the evil continues, often in a subtler and therefore more insidious form, everywhere (and I speak as one who traveled in many countries and constantly encounter people of many nationalities). And the makers of whitening agents, whitening soaps, and whitening creams prosper, and the next super-billionaire will be the one who invents a formula to help non-white people produce white babies … without the involvement of a white mate.
I just wish more people would read it (and The Killing of an Author, which speaks of the same subject in the context of the publishing industry) … and have the tolerance, the mental discipline and true open-mindedness, that would be able to grapple with what is now agreed, by many smart and fair people, to be a systemic evil.