MJ Nicholls's Reviews > Mumbo Jumbo

Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed
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bookshelves: merkins, novels

Reed is the sort of impish satirical crank whose Promethean intellect and restlessly zesty creativity tingles my funnybones, but whose books always leave me yearning for more logic, understanding and clarity. No exception here. This one is your all-out postmodern “metatext,” splicing citations and references and photos from other texts into the body of the main text—a satire about a dancing pandemic called Jes Grew—and despite the presentational panache of the novel, nestling beneath is really another relentless absurdist farce, albeit one written by a dazzling hyperbrain. More to the point: the references of whatever African-African late 60s cultural moment under analysis are entirely lost on a 26-year-old whitey from Backwoods, Scotchland, so the book deserves a more clued-in reader. In terms of the language, Reed has dropped the wizardry from his first two books Yellow Radio and Freelance Pallbearers, which is a shame, because his skill in that regard is nonpareil.
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Reading Progress

July 12, 2013 – Started Reading
July 12, 2013 – Shelved
July 13, 2013 – Shelved as: merkins
July 13, 2013 – Shelved as: novels
July 13, 2013 – Finished Reading

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