The book received enthusiastic reviews. Dan Chiasson, writing in the New Yorker, wrote that "[Citizen] is an especially vital book for this moment in time. ...The realization at the end of this book sits heavily upon the heart: 'This is how you are a citizen,' Rankine writes. 'Come on. Let it go. Move on.' As Rankine's brilliant, disabusing work, always aware of its ironies, reminds us, 'moving on' is not synonymous with 'leaving behind.'" Writing for the Washington Post, Michael Lindgren described the book as "Part protest lyric, part art book, Citizen is a dazzling expression of the painful double consciousness of black life in America".
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