In his new nonfiction collection Playing in Time: Essays, Profiles, and Other True Stories (University of Chicago Press), acclaimed journalist Carlo Rotella ’86 explores a variety of characters and settings, His writing has been praised for going beneath the surface of the story as he sympathetically dwells in the lives of the people and places he encounters.
The two dozen essays in this volume deal with subjects and obsessions that have characterized his previous writing: boxing, music, writers, and cities. “Playing in time” refers to how people make beauty and meaning while working within the constraints and limits forced on them by life.
Besides his compelling writing on boxing, Rotella shares his engaging and insightful reportage on crime and science fiction writers, movie production, a megachurch, urban spaces, and more. Some of the essays appear in print for the first time.
Rotella is the author of Good with Their Hands: Boxers, Bluesmen, and Other Characters from the Rust Belt; October Cities: The Redevelopment of Urban Literature; and Cut Time: An Education at the Fights, the last also published by the University of Chicago Press. He writes regularly for the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, and the Boston Globe, and he is a commentator for WGBH FM in Boston.
A professor of English at Boston College, Rotella is director of the American Studies Program and director of the Lowell Humanities Series.