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The graphic truth about US prisons

An unflinching portrayal of the US prison system makes for a frustrating read

By Sian Norris   August 2018
Nothing to lose but their chains: a woman in a US prison © Wikimedia commons

Nothing to lose but their chains: a woman in a US prison © Wikimedia commons

The latest novel by Rachel Kushner, who was nominated for the National Book award for 2013’s The Flamethrowers, is an addictive read that explores the grim reality of America’s prison system. Told mostly through the eyes of inmate Romy Hall, Kushner exposes the dark underbelly of the American dream.

The novel opens with Romy’s journey to Stanville, a women’s prison where…

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