Beautiful Destruction, a story of graffiti in NYC

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“Layering and flow and the strategic, intentional use of rupture are tenets of hip hop’s aesthetic DNA, and I definitely wanted to reflect that in the book.”

The Millions interviews Adam Mansbach about his new novel, Rage is Back, which centers on graffiti in New York City. The conversation touches on hip hop and history, style and inspiration. Mansbach summarizes:

I wanted the book to be told from the perspective of somebody who wasn’t part of the glory days, somebody who inherited the culture, was born into it, and had a complicated relationship to it. For Dondi, graffiti is old man shit, the thing that derailed his parents’ lives. I wanted this to be about a reckoning between generations, and I wanted to do something exciting, a heist story with plots and setbacks and lots of moving pieces, big stakes and big payoffs.

Mansbach’s personal relationship with graffiti ensures an authentic read.


Caroline Kangas calls both Seattle and San Francisco home (though she currently resides in the latter). She recently received a mouthful of a liberal arts degree from the University of San Francisco and can be found selling pirate supplies at 826 Valencia or wandering the streets with her diva of a french bulldog, Elle. More from this author →