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review

Thirty pages into Rich and Poor I had yet to make a single marginal note – surprising. It's not that the novel was bad, but so solid. Where was the wild, anarchic energy that electrified Polyamorous Love Song? It's there, I learned, but I had to wait. Rich and Poor alternates narration between a rich man and a poor man, both nameless. Initially it reads as a parable about a magnanimous jerk and a representative of the Global South, but then there's a crisis, and it's once things fall apart that they get interesting. "All that is solid melts into air" – that's how Marx and Engels described the experience of capitalism; it could also apply to reading this book – a compliment. As with Wren's previous work, Rich and Poor is art in resistance, a work that dares to remind us of our capacity for revolutionary love despite the prevailing economic system's structural violence.