Welcome to Hell World (2019) cover (image via OR Books)

If you don’t know Luke O’Neil’s words, prepare to be freshly bummed out by the state of daily political life in the United States. O’Neil writes long, meandering essays analyzing and critiquing timely topics like healthcare, fascism, and the corrosive effect of Fox News in his newsletter, Welcome to Hell World: Dispatches From the New American Dystopia, which he recently turned into a book of the same name, now available from OR Books. He will be reading passages from the nearly 600-page tome for the PageTurners reading series this coming week in Downtown Brooklyn.

O’Neil’s writing is full of indictments of people in power, and by way of disclosure, I was proud to overlap with him at Esquire a few years back. In his newsletter and in his book, O’Neil treats current events as a sort of literary post-apocalypse. Sample essay titles include “I would want to drink their blood” (about the deaths of children in Iraq) and “Give us the money or we’ll kill your son” (an interview with a young man who from El Salvador who fled MS-13). Despite the brutal rhetorical approach, O’Neil’s writing is both humane and full of humans — real people whose lives are torn apart by bad policy. And ultimately his words help us see the grim realities around us a little more clearly. The reading is free, but seating is limited, so get there early.

When: Monday, November 4, 7-9 pm
Where: DeKalb Market Hall (445 Albee Square W, Downtown Brooklyn)

Eric Vilas-Boas is the former managing editor of Hyperallergic. He has previously worked at Thrillist, Esquire, SPIN, Donorschoose.org, and his writing has appeared at Vulture, Slashfilm, Lit Hub, Paste,...