Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
Forty years after John Edgar Wideman's first book of stories, comes this stunning collection that is vital reading for anyone interested in the state of America today. Its subjects range from Michael Jordan to Emmett Till, from distrust of authority to everyday grief, from childhood memories to the final day in a prison cell.
A boy stands alone in his grandmother's house, unable to enter the room in which his grandfather's coffin lies, afraid the dead man may speak, afraid he won't speak. Freddie Jackson's song 'You Are My Lady' plays on the car radio as a son is brought to a prison cell in Arizona. A narrator contemplates the Atlanta child murders from 1979.
Never satisfied to simply tell a story, Wideman continues to push form, with stories within stories, sentences that rise like a jazz solo with every connecting clause, voices that reflect who he is and where he's from, and an exploration of time that entangles past and present. Whether historical or contemporary, intimate or expansive, the stories here represent a pioneering American writer whose innovation and imagination know no bounds.