“Where did the phrase ‘late capitalism’ come from, and why did so many people start using it all of a sudden?”

On being a fat medical student: “I am always aware of my fatness, but perhaps more so here at medical school. We are training to work with bodies, and mine is a type of body we warn our patients not to have. It is the first thing described in every list of ‘modifiable risk factors’. A colleague suggests ‘just don’t let yourself get too fat’ as we talk about preventing a certain type of cancer. A final exam question asks us to list four poor health outcomes associated with obesity. I sit through lectures with slides that have sniggering titles like ‘how BIG is the problem?’ ”

Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad has been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke award for science fiction.


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