Title: The Cattle Killing (Signed)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, Boston / New York
Publication Date: 1996
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: First Edition.
Cloth-backed paper over boards. Signed by Wideman on the title-page. Bookseller Inventory # GK2024
Synopsis: A major literary event by " one of America's premier writers of fiction" (New York Times) and two-time winner of the prestigious PEN/Faulkner Award, The Cattle Killing, John Edgar Wideman's first novel in six years, is certain to galvanize national attention. It is a fiercely lyrical, passionate, and revealing novel that attempts to reconfigure the paradigm of race. Spanning two centuries and three continents, the novel is a powerful, mythic book certain to provoke and inspire. In plague-ridden eighteenth-century Philadelphia, a young itinerant black preacher searches for a mysterious, endangered African woman. His struggle to find her and save them both plummets him into the nightmare of a society violently splitting itself into white and black, white over black. Spiraling outward from the core image of a cattle killing - the Xhosa people's ritual destruction of their herd in a vain attempt to resist European domination - the novel expands its narrator's search for meaning and love in
Review: Set in Philadelphia in 1793, when the city was afflicted by an epidemic of yellow fever, Wideman's novel is narrated by a young black preacher whose mind seems unhinged by the terrible events he is witnessing. His apocalyptic visions reflect the confusion and delirium around him. The rich white citizens of the city are mostly shutting themselves in and sending their black servants out into the fever-ridden streets. One prominent historical figure, Dr. Benjamin Rush (Dr. Thrush in the novel), is portrayed in a very ambivalent relationship with a black servant girl. Wideman, who has dealt in a more documentary style with the epidemic in a previous collection of short stories, Fever, here combines vision, hallucination, dream, and African legend in a complex metaphorical novel.
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