Rebecca Sofferman's Reviews > Pym

Pym by Mat Johnson
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's review
Dec 27, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: book-club
Read from December 27, 2011 to January 01, 2012

I enjoyed this book about an English and African-American Studies professor who is denied tenure and hits rock bottom when all of his treasured book collection is destroyed. He comes across a rare manuscript written by one of the supposed members of a crew of explorers who find a strange tropical island of black people near Antarctica, as described in Edgar Allen Poe's obscure and only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (which is a real book). He decides to trace the journey in hopes of finding the island, but finds horror and slavery instead among strange white cloaked beings in Antarctica. The book explores societal and attitudinal differences between white and black people in America, both current and historical, in a literary context. A bit strange, but designed to mirror Poe's novel, the book is humorous and poignant. An interesting read.

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