African American Literature Discussion Group discussion

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message 1: by Ray (last edited Jul 04, 2016 03:12PM) (new)

Ray Hollar-Gregory | 8 comments Just read NYTimes article Snobs and Me, by Jennifer Weiner, an impressive critique on literary hierarchy and its critical analysis of particular works.. The premise of the article is arrogance of literary review and dismissive attitude she receives in general and from her ivy league peers (Princeton) regarding her publication of "chick lit."

I have published my first novel "Other Side" and anxiously brace myself for its review. I proudly write in the "second tier", and am not unfamiliar with that classification as an African-American author. However, I chose not the stereotypical commercial urban lit formula that characterizes so much of black storytelling. When deciding my ISBN# I debated selecting AA General--some racial classifications are alive and well in post racial America. I deliberated that classification because I think the book is worthy of a broader appeal. It would be naive not to consider the fact that even though this is an American story that happens to be told by a black person it may be relegated to segment appeal notwithstanding its other merits. Like Snobs and Me, if for different reasons, I fear the dismissive nature and segmentation that may be accorded a novel by a black male author viewing life through a racial prism.

The theme of my book Other Side is contemporary literature. The themes are viewed through the experiences of a young middle class African American attorney. While race is an issue and part of the active consciousness, the majority of themes are universal. The title Other Side is an attempt to explore the duality of personality, character and actions of people. The main character faces his conflicts and value propositions through four relationships that are juxtaposed and contradictory. His pursuit of validation and truth is explored through his mother, wife, mistress and a sex worker. All of the main characters in Other Side are of color (diverse). Racial identity is not as prevalent as gender and socio-economic status. The reader is introduced to an array of other characters and backgrounds. The anecdotes from each encapsulate a broad perspective of political and social issues in a multi cultural American society. Although presented through the prism of a male protagonist the women’s stories of relationship struggle and maturation provides the platform for all the characters development.

OtherSide is very much a story for our collective times. We'll see. Your thoughts?
See Preview at https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1...
It is available at;https://www.amazon.com/Other-Side-Ray... (Kindle) or https://www.createspace.com/6178731 (paperback)


message 2: by Nane (new)

Nane Quartay (nane_quartay) | 2 comments While your article has valid points, I think that those issues are the reason that you should forge ahead. You have the opportunity to create a niche with a unique voice and a unique perspective. Let your talent guide you as you break new ground and perhaps make reading a color blind venture.
Good fortune to you.


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