The Free-Lance Pallbearers: An Irreverent Novel
"For all the talk of the black aesthetic, few black novelists have broken sharply with the traditional devices of the realistic novel. One writer who departs from such conventions, however, is Ishmael Reed. . . . The Free-Lance Pallbearers uses an explosive combination of straightforward English prose, exaggerated black dialect, hip jargon, advertising slogans and long, h...more
The Harry Sam oaths
All is not well in the kingd ...more
Reed deserves a helluva lot better than a flash-mob review, but I either read or review. I choose latterly. This is farce taken to its absolutely illogical extreme; doubtlessly indebted to Pynchon. Pynchie would return the compliment by means of a shout-out in Gravity's Rainbow. This, Reed's first, has much more commonality to Lot 49 than the one about banana missiles and a murderous cephalopod. But that, like Jesus, is just alright with me ...more
I'm also confident that the old 1969 Bantam edition I found a Book Thug Nation has the best possible version of the cover art:
Of course, maybe as an author it would be difficult for him, or for anyone, to make an entire lifelong career out of writing in this style... probably no one wants to be entirely defined as a writer by his or her one, first book. So it se ...more
I was worried that the dialect would be hard to read, but I found it reasonably easy to understand (easier than, say, a William Faulkner novel).
I'm not sure if I'm finished with this story, or if I'll need to reread and re-review at a later date. It was strange, in a good way.
I read this as a satire and a what-the-fuck type hodgepodge of ramma-lamma-ding dong, but also read it as something I've never quite read before. I enjoyed it and will go for more.
Reed has been described as one of the most controversial writers. While his work has often sought to represent neglected African and African-American perspective ...more