This story would have been exciting enough based only on the fact that Edward P. Jones so boldly took Edward P. Jones' Bold Vision of "The Known World"
This story would have been exciting enough based only on the fact that Edward P. Jones so boldly took the antebellum novel to a place it has never gone before; namely, to black slave-owner Henry Townsend's plantation in Manchester, Virginia. There, the "Known World" is wholly different from what one might expect. But this seemingly obviously absurd anomaly of U.S. history, wherein black masters owned black slaves, doesn’t stop with that rarely discussed fact. It is further illuminated by Jones' flights into the fantastic with observations of sentient lightning, children with the personalities of bitter grandparents, and, comically enough, freak chickens.
Mixed within this potent literary brew are some of the most original and dynamic characters, male and female, ever to step into the pages of American fiction. In fact, one of more remarkable features of Jones’ amazing novel is his portrayal of how specific individuals sometimes managed to exploit the institution of slavery in order to indulge their own private needs, quirks, or agendas.
It's true that the alternating biblical density and epic expansiveness of details and events with which Jones builds his narrative can at times prove challenging. However, this same aesthetic ultimately delivers a triumphant satisfaction. Jones' Pulitzer--and any other awards received for this novel--was well earned and deserved.
by Author-Poet Aberjhani author of "Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance" (Facts on File Library of American History) and "The Wisdom Of W.E.B. Du Bois" (Wisdom Library) ...more
THE SUBTERRANEANS is a novel remarkable for a number of distinctions, not the least of which is the report that GrandIF LOVE WERE JAZZ AND VICE VERSA
THE SUBTERRANEANS is a novel remarkable for a number of distinctions, not the least of which is the report that Grand Beat Master Jack Kerouac wrote it in only three days. The book's analytical depths, structural complexity, and richness of language would make one more inclined to believe it took three years to write. To read this novel is to sink into a mesmerizing whirl of bebop jazz rhythms, uncompromising confession, and the audacity of raw images for which Kerouac and other Beat Writers were so well known.
Kerouac's main characters in THE SUBTERRANEANS are Leo, an Anglo-American, and his love interest Mardou, an African-Native American. The interracial nature of this relationship (supposedly based on a real-life one that Kerouac had in 1953) is not ignored but neither does it dominate the novel. A question clear from the beginning is not only whether or not Leo and Mardou can successfully navigate their very intensely fragile personalities and sustain a mutually satisfying relationship, but also whether or not they can survive the excessive weights of history and bigotry.
The entire culture of bebop jazz forms an important backdrop for the novel and Kerouac expresses his love for the music in short homages paid to some its giants, including saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker. Likewise, a number of Kerouac's Beat writer pals can be found (as in other works by him) in supporting roles in this novel: Allen Ginsberg as the character of Adam Moorad; William Burroughs as Frank Carmody; and Gregory Corso as Yuri Gligoric. This a true and thoroughly enjoyable American classic from one of our most true and thoroughly enjoyable writers. It's also a good book to read at a time when the world seems to be discovering and celebrating Kerouac all over again.
by Aberjhani author of "I Made My Boy Out of Poetry" and "Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance" (Facts on File Library of American History) ...more
it is not uncommon in american fiction to come across novels that thrill the reader s imagination with absorbing accounts of romantic passion. nor isit is not uncommon in american fiction to come across novels that thrill the reader s imagination with absorbing accounts of romantic passion. nor is it difficult to find one that presents an appealingly rich portrait of african-american and african culture. what is rare and a true cause for celebration is what we find in the pages of marguerite tiggs-birt s foolish pleasures: a novel that not only utilizes these elements to communicate valuable knowledge and wisdom concerning the scars and traumas we human beings often accumulate in our quest for meaningful relationships, but one that illustrates the means by which such soul-destroying pain may be healed, and damaged love restored. like the exquisite pink diamond that ambassador cedric philippe bestows upon his adored dr. bethesda vernon in this captivating read, foolish pleasures is a unique and precious kind of literary jewel.[return][return]aberjhani[return]author of visions of a skylark dressed in black[return]and encyclopedia of the harlem renaissance...more
precisely as its title so unapologetically indicates, "scarlett o hara can go to hell" is not a sunday stroll through myths of southern ladies waitingprecisely as its title so unapologetically indicates, "scarlett o hara can go to hell" is not a sunday stroll through myths of southern ladies waiting for heroic southern men to fill their lives with romance and adventure. if anything, it s the exact opposite, a mesmerizing tale of one woman s determination to re-write southern society s definition of what her life should or can be. jewish by birth but free-spirited by temperament, the novel s heroine, naomi kramer, declares her independence from tradition only to discover that freedom comes with as many challenges and demands as it does rewards and privileges. [return][return]from her immigrant grandfather s arrival in the united states in 1904 to naomi s powerful spiritual awakening in the 1980s, readers are treated to a journey through the unfoldment of one unforgettable woman s life while simultaneously bearing witness to what history would come to call the american century. in turns comically irreverent and soulfully inspiring, "scarlett o hara can go to hell" is one exceptionally enjoyable read. [return][return]aberjhani[return]author of "encyclopedia of the harlem renaissance"[return]and "visions of a skylark dressed in black"...more
to hear toni morrison speak of narrative as "one of the principle ways in which we absorb knowledge," and language as "meditation," is to enter into ato hear toni morrison speak of narrative as "one of the principle ways in which we absorb knowledge," and language as "meditation," is to enter into a miraculously new understanding of what it means to sit down with a novel, biography, book of creative nonfiction, or even a simple short story. to note that she is stating these declarations while accepting the 1993 nobel prize for literature before members of the swedish academy doubles the thrill. [return:][return:]for those who have found masterworks by morrison, such as "beloved" and "jazz," somewhat daunting, hearing what she appreciates most about literature provides invaluable clues to what one experiences in her own literary art. the autumn-breeze whisper of her voice is an enthralling contrast to the laser heat and precision of her mind nobly at work.[return:][return:]aberjhani[return:]author of "encyclopedia of the harlem renaissance"[return:]and "visions of a skylark dressed in black"...more
the fact that the first african-american to win the nobel prize for literature is reading this amzazing work on the pleasures of intellectual stimulatthe fact that the first african-american to win the nobel prize for literature is reading this amzazing work on the pleasures of intellectual stimulation and growth through reading is really the only qualification it needs to command the highest recommendations. nevertheless, by moving beyond the sense of awe that toni morrison tends to inspire just by being toni morrison, one is able to delve into the wonders of her own dancing mind as revealed in this thrilling audio book.[return:][return:]aberjhani[return:]author of "encyclopedia of the harlem renaissance"[return:]"the wisdom of w.e.b. du bois"[return:]and "visions of a skylark dressed in black"...more
Dambudzo Marechera could transform everyday language into a tortured scream for sanity or mold it into a seductive poetry of passGenius in Full Flower
Dambudzo Marechera could transform everyday language into a tortured scream for sanity or mold it into a seductive poetry of passionate need and joyful determination. The extremes of political chaos and spiritual urgency that characterized 1970s Zimbabwe illuminate the pages of Black Sunlight with unblinking honesty and desperately clinging hope.
This small masterpiece, along with his Guardian-prize winning House of Hunger, is one of the most powerful books ever penned by a Zimbabwean writer and gives testimony to why so many readers worldwide are "discovering" marcher's prose and poetry during this 21st-century resurgence of interest in his work. Black Sunlight is a book for lovers of serious accomplished literature, and although Marechera's style has drawn comparison to such authors as Wole Soyinka, James Joyce, and Samuel Beckett, his genius is really singular and deserves to be recognized as such.
One can only imagine what masterworks were lost to the world after he died of aids, when his genius was in full flower, at the age of 35 in 1987.