This book, a compilation of many short works, is truly one of Kushner's gems. And though, certainly, none of these pieces attains the truly unique, Kushnerian glory of "Angels" (but Good God, does *anything*?) they are most definitely not to be put aside too hastily.
His essays are enlightening, witty and thought-provoking, reminiscent of his drama. And though there are a few that I, admittedly, skip over periodically, most of them are fun, if slightly heavy, short reads.
"Slavs!" is not one of Kushner's best plays, but I must recommend spending some time with it. Like "Angels" and "Bright Room" (and indeed, everything he writes or says), "Slavs!" is dense with political theory, history and humanity. And while it may seem forgettable at first glance (and even second... I acted in it a few months ago, and trust me, it takes a few readings to truly appreciate it) it proves its worth.
Now I come to my favorite parts of the book: Kushner's poems. "An Epithalimion" holds a place (in my mind, at least) among his best writings. This poem is absolutely *alive* with imagery, both visual and emotional. To risk sounding like the cheesiest person ever, reading it just makes me happy; I can't recommend it highly enough. "Second Month of Mourning," too, is beautiful, but in exactly the opposite way: it's truly heart-breaking.
Kushner's prayer that concludes the compilation is one of my favorite pieces ever, ever. It thrills me to read it. It, like all the other works in this book, fits Kushner's mold perfectly: it is joyful and heart-breaking, political and scientific, historical and philosophical. It is the perfect end to this collection.
I have recommended this book to all of my friends, whether or not they are fans of Kushner (though everyone should be a fan of Kushner), and do the same to you. Buy it, read it, love it.