Democracy implies the participation of the people in a fair political process, a theme highly relevant in Aristophanes’ The Birds. Questions such as what wrongdoing is punished, whose corruption is liable to expulsion, who rules and why, were central to the play, and feel prescient in the context of mass incarceration in the contemporary United States.
These deep political and philosophical queries in Aristophanes will be highlighted in a conversation with bestselling author Rachel Kushner on her most recent novel, The Mars Room, which is set in a women’s correctional facility deep within California’s central valley. Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences and severed from the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision. Kushner will speak with screenwriter and director Paul Schrader.
Live from the NYPL with Rachel Kushner and Paul Schrader is presented in partnership with The New York Public Library.