In 2014, Lacy Johnson was giving a reading from The Other Side, her memoir of kidnapping and rape, when a woman asked her what she would like to happen to her rapist. This collection, a meditative extension of that answer, draws from philosophy, art, literature, mythology, anthropology, film, and other fields, as well as Johnson’s personal experience, to consider how our ideas about justice might be expanded beyond vengeance and retribution to include acts of compassion, patience, mercy, and grace. Johnson creates masterful, elaborate, gorgeously written essays that consider the condition of not being believed about rape and assault; the concept of evil; the sacred feminine, the “ideal woman,” and feminist art--and speak incisively about our current era. The Reckonings is a powerful and necessary work, ambitious in its scope, that strikes at the heart of our national conversation about the justness of society.
Lacy M. Johnson is a Houston-based artist, curator, professor, and activist. Her memoir The Other Side was a 2014 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Edgar Award in Best Fact Crime. Her writing has appeared in Guernica, Tin House, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. She teaches creative nonfiction at Rice University.