A novel set in an era of racism and discrimination in the United States has sparked a backlash from its author after it drew a parallel between a black victim of police brutality and a white woman’s death.
“Haircuts,” by Rachel Kushner, tells the story of the disappearance of a white man who was kidnapped by two black men while walking home from work.
It has received mixed reviews, with some calling it racist and others saying the novel’s premise was “tantamount to glorifying murder,” The Associated Press reported.
“This is the most racially charged novel I’ve ever read, and it’s still a white, straight woman getting killed by a bunch of black dudes,” one reader on Amazon.com wrote.
“The protagonist is a beautiful white woman, but the book portrays her as being the one who is being murdered.”
A review by the Atlantic noted that “it is clear that Kushner’s vision of the book was in many ways a reaction to the racism that still exists in the U.S. and abroad, and that it is intended to serve as a corrective to that,” but “there is no question that she is doing exactly what many of her compatriots would have done.”
The book, published by Bloomsbury, was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential Books of the 20th Century, while critics and writers have condemned the book as a “racist nightmare” that “paints white people as evil and monsters.”
The backlash has also sparked outrage on Twitter.
“No one can stop this book from coming out,” a commenter wrote.
A review from the New York Times said that the novel was “one of the most controversial novels ever written.”
“Hear me out.
I don’t want to read this book.
I just want to know why people are so offended,” a reviewer on Amazon wrote.
The review, however, did not call the book racist, but instead said that “the characters are depicted as the victims of their own actions, and the characters of the novel are not all white men.”
The reviews for the book have not received as much scrutiny as the controversy surrounding the book itself, with one critic saying that the book “isn’t a perfect novel,” while another reviewer wrote that “this book is racist.”
“I am appalled by the racism and brutality in ‘Hairscut,'” one reviewer on The New York Post wrote.
Other critics have called the book a “black-white metaphor,” but others have criticized the novel as racist.
Critics and writers on Twitter have also slammed the novel for “muddying the waters” and “over-emphasizing the horror of race,” and the backlash has been shared by several other sites.
“People are angry that Rachel Kushner’s novel is being made into a racist movie,” the Guardian wrote.