Steve's Reviews > The Chaneysville Incident

The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley
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's review
Aug 29, 11

bookshelves: favorites, afro-american-studies, american-lit
Read in June, 1982

For me this is the definitive "Afro-American Novel". I know everyone is sold on "Invisible Man" or "Song of Solomon". "Invisible Man" is a great novel, but it deals with the Afro-American as an idea, a philosophical construct in a Manichean society. "The Chaneysville Incident" is a realistic tale of a modern black man struggling to understand where he came from and how it shaped him. David Bradley tells the story of Historian John Washington, a brilliant scholar who is also an angry misanthrope. He has a stormy relationship with his hometown and bitter memories of his childhood. John has returned home to care for his late father's best friend. He is also on the hunt to find what caused his father's death. Was it suicide or murder? John's father, Mose Washington, had one of the best moonshine stills in the county if not the region. He also had a notebook containing the names of all of his customers, black & white. It maybe that someone wanted that notebook. But Chaneysville was also a stop on the Underground Railway. What John finds out about that, about his father, and about the citizens of Chaneysvile may bring a sense of peace or may drive him away forever.

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