Set mainly in the Pittsburgh district of Homewood, these 10 stories depict African Americans from all walks of life--ancestors, family, and lovers caught in the vortex of American history and haunted by their own particular demons. "(Wideman is) one of our very finest writers, period."--New Republic.
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Foremost African-American writer, John Edgar Wideman, shares his life in these mostly autobiographical short stories, mainly about the Homewood section of Pittsburgh and growing up black in America. Some are bitter-sweet, some are heart-warming, but most are sad, and a few are horrifying. Clifton Davis, whose voice will be familiar to theater and television audiences, is a good reader for these stories. He adeptly follows the author's switching from street lingo to sophisticated use of the English language. The music between stories, composed for this production, is funky and stylistic but does the job. Excellent production quality makes this audiobook worth adding to anyone's collection. All in all, a good introduction to America's next great writer. E.F. (c)AudioFile, Portland, MaineFrom Library Journal:
All stories may indeed be true, but some are truer than others, as in this outstanding collection. In each story a different voice reveals another dimension--often an intimate, psychological dimension--of life in black America. "Voices are what we must listen to," says one of Wideman's characters, "if we wish ever to be heard." The character speaking is a newborn infant who has been murdered by its teenage mother, indicating the range of Wideman's voices, each of which is scored like a piece of music, for in Wideman's monologs the how is inseparable from the what . He is fortunate that actor Clifton Davis narrates those voices with such consummate skill, never missing the humor behind the pathos, ably feeling his way into the music of Wideman's prose. Not every story is successful--ironically, an account of a trip to Africa fails precisely because it forces the same style that fits the rest of the book so naturally--but these are minor flaws in a major achievement. Although not yet as famous as some of his contemporaries, Wideman's tremendous linguistic talent, driven by a keen sense of justice, a penetrating intelligence, and a courageous imagination, is sure to earn him a prominent place in the cultural history of our time. Highly recommended.
- Peter Josyph, New York
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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