"It’s taken me years to read The Politics of Friendship. As I’ve inched my way through it, lines here and there have sent me to Derrida’s other writings, or have spurred my mind to chase random memories. I fix on the parts that sing, and I try to catch the gist of the parts that are too complicated for me. The book’s main appeal is the opportunity it provides to follow along as someone grapples with an ephemeral part of human experience.
Doing so has come to feel more and more poignant as I have made my slow progress. At times, it seems as though Derrida is describing a bygone way of being, one racked with less anxiety about the bonds that tie us together. In an era of social media and fluid, proliferating channels of communication and exchange, the idea of friendship seems almost quaint, and possibly imperilled. In the face of abundant, tenuous connections, the instinct to sort people according to a more rigid logic than that of mere friendship seems greater than ever.
The Politics of Friendship is ultimately a book about social bonds, and our capacity to envision a collective future that surpasses the dire possibilities of the present. 'For to love friendship,' Derrida writes, 'it is not enough to know how to bear the other in mourning; one must love the future.' Perhaps friendship could offer a model for politics, or a vision of what politics could become."
— Hua Hsu December 03, 2019, The New Yorker