They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

In an age of confusion, fear, and loss, Hanif Abdurraqib's is a voice that matters. Whether he's attending a Bruce Springsteen concert the day after visiting Michael Brown's grave, or discussing public displays of affection at a Carly Rae Jepsen show, he writes with a poignancy and magnetism that resonates profoundly.In the wake of the nightclub attacks in Paris, he recall...

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Title:They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us
Author:Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib
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Edition Language:English

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us Reviews

  • Jason Diamond

    I've read five stellar essay collections that came out in 2017 and this one might sit at the top of the pile. Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib has this way of laying out whatever it is he wants to discuss, then beautifully diving into it and taking the reader in directions they weren't expecting, but that all end up feeling totally right. Seeing Bruce Springsteen in 2016 turns into a meditation on something much bigger than simply seeing a rockstar; Ric Flair, growing up Black in the 1990s, Chance the Ra

    I've read five stellar essay collections that came out in 2017 and this one might sit at the top of the pile. Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib has this way of laying out whatever it is he wants to discuss, then beautifully diving into it and taking the reader in directions they weren't expecting, but that all end up feeling totally right. Seeing Bruce Springsteen in 2016 turns into a meditation on something much bigger than simply seeing a rockstar; Ric Flair, growing up Black in the 1990s, Chance the Rapper, Fall Out Boy and so much more. I'd say this is a book of mostly essays on music, but that puts They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us into a box it totally doesn't deserve to be in. These are essays about living and trying to survive in America and they're brilliantly filtered through music and pop culture in a way that makes me think Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib is one of our great voices that everybody should pay attention to.

  • Tobias

    Do you like excellent essays on subjects ranging from punk rock to familial complexities? Well then.

  • Pat

    I'd never cried while reading an essay about fall out boy before, so that was new

  • Samantha Irby

    CRACKED MY HEART WIDE OPEN

  • Patrick McG

    When I got this book in the mail, I went a little crazy with the letter opener, leaving a long straight cut down the center of the cover.

    I am sorry.

    To have something this beautiful, so damaged.

  • Renata

    I L O V E D this. I forget where I saw it recommended but I almost didn't pick it up because it's a lot of music criticism of music I don't especially like, but it was overall so highly recommended that I checked it out. And I'm so glad I did!! The author is also a poet and you can definitely tell, his style is so beautiful and moving. Even when I'm not familiar with the artists, these essays are always about more than music. (I have to admit I did prefer it when I was familiar with an essay's s

    I L O V E D this. I forget where I saw it recommended but I almost didn't pick it up because it's a lot of music criticism of music I don't especially like, but it was overall so highly recommended that I checked it out. And I'm so glad I did!! The author is also a poet and you can definitely tell, his style is so beautiful and moving. Even when I'm not familiar with the artists, these essays are always about more than music. (I have to admit I did prefer it when I was familiar with an essay's subject, such as Ms. Carly Rae Jepsen.)

    Still: after this I'll read whatever Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib has to say about anything.

  • Melissa

    "Joy, in these moments, is the sweetest meal that we keep chasing the perfect recipe for, among a world trying to gather all of the ingredients for itself. I need it to rest on my tongue especially when I am angry, especially when I am afraid, especially when nothing makes sense other than the fact that joy has been, and will always be, the thing that first pulls me from underneath the covers when nothing else will. It is the only part of me that I have to keep accessible at all times, because I

    "Joy, in these moments, is the sweetest meal that we keep chasing the perfect recipe for, among a world trying to gather all of the ingredients for itself. I need it to rest on my tongue especially when I am angry, especially when I am afraid, especially when nothing makes sense other than the fact that joy has been, and will always be, the thing that first pulls me from underneath the covers when nothing else will. It is the only part of me that I have to keep accessible at all times, because I never know what will come. The only thing promised in this world is that it will, oftentimes, be something that makes living seem impossible. And I hope, then, that a child who blessedly knows less of the world's evils decides to laugh with his friends in a place that reaches your ears. I hope it carries you back to the fight, as it has done for me. Joy, in this way, can be a weapon - that which carries us forward when we have been beaten back for weeks, or months, or years.

    And what a year 2016 was. Oh, friends, those of you who are still with us, what a year we survived together. We are not done burying our heroes before we are asked to bury our friends. Our mourning is eclipsed by a greater mourning. I know nothing that will get us through this beyond whatever small pockets of happiness we make for each other in between the rage and the eulogies and the marching and the protesting and the demanding to be seen and accounted for. I know nothing except that this grief is a river carrying us to another new grief, and along the way, let us hold a space for a bad joke or a good memory. Something that will allow us to hold our breath under the water for a little bit longer. Let the children have their world. Their miraculous, impossible world where nothing hurts long enough to stop time. Let them have it for as long as it will hold them. When that world falls to pieces, maybe we can use whatever is left to build a better one for ourselves."

  • Book Riot Community

    Poet, writer, and critic Willis-Abdurraqib has written a series of smart essays about music and his thoughts and feelings about it in relation to current events and culture, including the Springsteen concert he attended the day after visiting Michael Brown’s grave and seeing PDA at a Carly Rae Jepsen show. AND THAT COVER. W-o-w!

    – Liberty Hardy

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    Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books:

  • Kelly

    An outstanding collection of essays about music, race, and life in contemporary America. Hanif is a black Muslim who grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and his writing on being who he is in that Midwest space is out of this world good.

    All of the essays have a connection to pop culture, and most to music, and it doesn't matter whether you know or like any of the thematic threadings of the pieces. They're about much, much more.

    (And that Carly Rae Jepson piece!)

    Those who love and laud Roxane Gay would do

    An outstanding collection of essays about music, race, and life in contemporary America. Hanif is a black Muslim who grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and his writing on being who he is in that Midwest space is out of this world good.

    All of the essays have a connection to pop culture, and most to music, and it doesn't matter whether you know or like any of the thematic threadings of the pieces. They're about much, much more.

    (And that Carly Rae Jepson piece!)

    Those who love and laud Roxane Gay would do really well to pick this up, too.

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