Everything for Everyone: Book of the Month June 2023

So I had to abbreviate the title for this one, it’s on the long side. To give it its full due, June’s book of the month is ‘Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune 2052-2072’ by M. E. O’Brien and Eman Abdelhadi.

Detail from cover of Everything For Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune 2052-2072 by M. E. O'Brien and Eman Abdelhadi

Nathan, a member of the Utopian Book Collective, has recommended this one. I think there will be much to discover and talk about through reading this book.

First interesting point – two authors. Utopias are often the singular vision of a sole author. Is a co-authored utopia better for being collective, or is the vision compromised?

Second, the authors themselves. They aren’t fiction writers. O’Brien is a theorist and has worked on real life oral history projects. Abdelhadi is an academic who also creates performance art and writes poetry. They are both activists. So how does a utopia written by activists differ from a utopia by, say, a sci-fi author?

Third, the form of the book. It’s written as a series of interviews with the (fictional) revolutionaries who made the (fictional) commune. Are the various voices believable? Is it a convincing way to write a utopia, and is it enjoyable to read?

And then, of course, there’s the content of the utopia itself. Is the New York Commune an ideal world and could it really come about?

If you’re in Bristol, UK, come along to book group and join in the discussion! Enjoy a drink from the bar and maybe even, like Carolyn at last month’s meeting, you will find utopia at the bottom of your glass.

Utopia engraved on the bottom of a drinking glass

Are you further afield? That’s what the comments section is for. Let us know your thoughts on this month’s book below.