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Chain Gang All-Stars

por Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
6673334,621 (4.11)49
"The explosive, hotly-anticipated debut novel from the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black, about two top women gladiators fighting for their freedom within a depraved private prison system not so far-removed from America's own. Loretta Thurwar and Hamara "Hurricane Staxxx" Stacker are the stars of Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of CAPE, or Criminal Action Penal Entertainment, a highly-popular, highly-controversial, profit-raising program in America's increasingly dominant private prison industry. It's the return of the gladiators and prisoners are competing for the ultimate prize: their freedom. In CAPE, prisoners travel as Links in Chain-Gangs, competing in death-matches for packed arenas with righteous protestors at the gates. Thurwar and Staxxx, both teammates and lovers, are the fan favorites. And if all goes well, Thurwar will be free in just a few matches, a fact she carries as heavily as her lethal hammer. As she prepares to leave her fellow Links, she considers how she might help preserve their humanity, in defiance of these so-called games, but CAPE's corporate owners will stop at nothing to protect their status quo and the obstacles they lay in Thurwar's path have devastating consequences. Moving from the Links in the field to the protestors to the CAPE employees and beyond, Chain-Gang All-Stars is a kaleidoscopic, excoriating look at the American prison system's unholy alliance of systemic racism, unchecked capitalism, and mass incarceration, and a clear-eyed reckoning with what freedom in this country really means from a "new and necessary American voice" (Tommy Orange, New York Times Book Review)"--… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porlihui, FleetSparrow, Iudita, greenbee, flusendieb, lizallenknapp, Garyosu, sablackwell, tuesandfri, biblioteca privada
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Didactic and repetitive. You could skip over entire pages and not miss a thing. ( )
  Iudita | Apr 22, 2024 |
Imagine a world of privatised prisons, instruments of control that are torture and Black prisoners fighting each other to death as entertainment on TV. Yes, this is a powerful book with a powerful message set in adystopian future but one where the seeds were sown a decade or so ago. Imagine a prison system where you have to fight to survive and if you do so for three years, you are set free.

Each prisoner on the entertainment scheme has a weapon, often similar to the Greek Gods. Loretta Thurwar has a hammer but there are also spears and scythes and the fights take place in front of a live audience as well as televised, the live audience not unlike the Roman Colosseum and the film Gladiator by Russell Crowe where the gladiators taunt and excite the audience. Interspersed throughout the story are factual snippets in the audiobook and footnotes in a hard copy that provide statistics and data about what is happening in prisons nowadays and this has the effect of ensuring that the two tracks of fact and fiction in this novel run parallel with one another but with fiction slightly ahead and the factual information chasing to catch up.

The producers of the TV show change the rules each season and for the 33rd season their new rule is that there can not be two fighters at the highest level on the same chain. If there are, they must fight so that only one is left. This would be the last fight for Thurwar and it is against Staxxx, her lover.

The message is loud and clear: you can't win.

Whilst the Thurwar and Staxxx story is the main one I think, there are several sub-plots. There are the abolitionists that protest at the fights, there are the producers of the programme and the guards, there is the live audience baying for blood and their favourite characters. There is the story of Bad Water, an innocent man imprisoned and through that now a killer because of the programme. There is also the circular history of Thurwar in that she was incarcerated because she killed a woman, one assumes a lover, and here to gain her freedom she must once again kill her lover. This time it is sanctioned by the system, commercialism, capitalism and the people.

The book shows us time and time again that the prison system is as violent and inhumane as the rest of society or should that be the other way round? There is no difference. In fact, I felt like I had been slammed by Thurwood's hammer with this message. I also felt that in the middle, the story slowed down and it felt like we were going over the same material again and again.

This is no delicate, subtle story - this is a story to bludgeon us with. ( )
  allthegoodbooks | Apr 16, 2024 |
Lacks character development ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Apr 10, 2024 |
This book received a lot of positive reviews and was a finalist for the National Book Award. I read his first book of short stories "Friday Black" and it was very creative. This book is not a happy book but it deals with an important topic- our prison system and incarceration in America. The premise is that in a dystopian future prisons are being run by private companies. A program called CAPE has been established which allows prisoners sentenced to long prison terms and death to participate. They are part of a chain of links that fight other links in other chains to the death in gladiator style fights. These are televised and attended in stadiums and are presented as action sports. If the participants can win their matches through 3 years then they can get their freedom. The book presents all of this as acceptable to most of the country but also as something that is constantly being protested. The story centers around Thurwar and Staax ,two of the most successful participants who are links in the same chain. The author creates a lot of details about the prison system and how it all works but basically it creates a view of our society in a mostly negative conflicted way. There are footnotes throughout the book that cite real life incidents within the justice and penal systems in our country. The major theme is that our system of incarceration which is the largest in the world is not reducing crime or making this a safer country. It also is a commentary of a potential future that we may be heading towards. A lot of other themes such as racial injustice, corporate greed, and how people become immune to violence are part of the book. A worthwhile and important book. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Apr 9, 2024 |
Holy shit. This book is metal AF. It's also incredibly depressing. Maybe I'm too cynical, but I can all-too-easily imagine the US monetizing our prison system by turning it into some kind of Hunger Games bullshit. And I can understand why people facing long sentences would willingly sign up for a 3-year death tournament. There is definitely an attempt at some hope throughout the story, and maybe even moreso at the end, but I was feeling pretty bleak and depressed during and after reading.

While fiction, maybe this book could help some people who don't think our current prison system is exploitative, unjust, and largely unhelpful, to change their perspective. Maybe that's too hopeful of a thought on my part.

Regardless, if you're into dystopias, especially ones that feel achievable in your lifetime, I highly recommend this. Hell, even if that's not your genre, I think you should read this book. ( )
  MillieHennessy | Apr 1, 2024 |
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She felt their eyes, all those executioners.

"Welcome, young lady," said Micky Wright, the premier announcer for Chain-Gang All-Stars, the crown jewel in the Criminal Action Penal Entertainment program. "Why don't you tell us your name?" His high boots were planted in the turf of the BattleGround, which was long and green, stroker with cocaine-white hash marks, like a divergent football field. It was Super Bowl weekend, a fact that Wright was contractually obligated to mention between every match that evening. -The Freeing of Malancholia Bishop
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"The explosive, hotly-anticipated debut novel from the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black, about two top women gladiators fighting for their freedom within a depraved private prison system not so far-removed from America's own. Loretta Thurwar and Hamara "Hurricane Staxxx" Stacker are the stars of Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of CAPE, or Criminal Action Penal Entertainment, a highly-popular, highly-controversial, profit-raising program in America's increasingly dominant private prison industry. It's the return of the gladiators and prisoners are competing for the ultimate prize: their freedom. In CAPE, prisoners travel as Links in Chain-Gangs, competing in death-matches for packed arenas with righteous protestors at the gates. Thurwar and Staxxx, both teammates and lovers, are the fan favorites. And if all goes well, Thurwar will be free in just a few matches, a fact she carries as heavily as her lethal hammer. As she prepares to leave her fellow Links, she considers how she might help preserve their humanity, in defiance of these so-called games, but CAPE's corporate owners will stop at nothing to protect their status quo and the obstacles they lay in Thurwar's path have devastating consequences. Moving from the Links in the field to the protestors to the CAPE employees and beyond, Chain-Gang All-Stars is a kaleidoscopic, excoriating look at the American prison system's unholy alliance of systemic racism, unchecked capitalism, and mass incarceration, and a clear-eyed reckoning with what freedom in this country really means from a "new and necessary American voice" (Tommy Orange, New York Times Book Review)"--

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