Hard Crowd
Rachel Kushner

Book cover image

Narrated By: Rachel Kushner

Duration: 7 hours and 52 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

A wildly original first essay collection from the bestselling, Booker Prize-shortlisted author of
The Mars Room

In her twenties Rachel Kushner went to Mexico in pursuit of her first love - motorbikes - to compete in the notorious and deadly race, Cabo 1000. As fellow racers died on the roadside, bikes were stolen and friends abandoned one another in the heat of the chase, she crashed at 130mph and miraculously survived; soon after, she decided to leave her controlling boyfriend and manoeuvred her way into a freer new life.

The Hard Crowd is a white-knuckle ride through that life; a book about muscling your way through, finding your own path and, as she says in the hair-raising opening piece, 'completing the ride without dying'. In nineteen razor-sharp essays she explores friendship, loss, social justice, art and more, taking us into the world of truckers, a Palestinian refugee camp, the American prison system and the San Francisco music scene, via the work of Jeff Koons, Marguerite Duras and the Rolling Stones. Fearless and bold, The Hard Crowd is an electrifying book about living fast and free in a crowded world.

© Rachel Kushner 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021


Literary essays, Feminism and feminist theory, Literary studies: fiction, novelists and prose writers, The Arts

Listen to a sample

She seems to work with a muse and a nail gun, so surprisingly yet forcefully do her sentences pin reality to the page.

New York Magazine

I honestly don't know how she is able to know so much (about motorcycle racing, Italian radical politics) and convey all of it in such a completely entertaining and mesmerizing way.

George Saunders

One of America's most exciting writers . . . A brilliant collection of art and literary criticism, reportage, and autobiography.

Daily Telegraph

The Hard Crowd is wild, wide-ranging and unsparingly intelligent throughout.

Vogue *Best Books to Read in 2021*

She writes as well as any writer alive about the pleasure of a good motor doing what it was designed to do . . . Cool and wise, with real power and control . . . This book has a real gallery of souls . . . As strong a statement about artistic purpose and sensibility as I've read in a while.