John Pistelli

writer

Tag Archives: african-american literature

Albert Murray, The Hero and the Blues

The Hero And the Blues by Albert Murray My rating: 5 of 5 stars Albert Murray is, as the fashion journalists say, having a moment. His collected non-fiction and fiction/poetry … Continue reading

19 May 2018 · 1 Comment

Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo

Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed My rating: 4 of 5 stars Thomas Pynchon’s freewheeling narrator of Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) tells us, “Well, and keep in mind where those Masonic Mysteries came … Continue reading

7 May 2018 · 3 Comments

Tracy K. Smith, Life on Mars

Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith My rating: 4 of 5 stars This celebrated 2011 volume from the current U.S. poet laureate is her elegy for her father, a … Continue reading

20 April 2018 · Leave a comment

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates My rating: 4 of 5 stars It is a poor period indeed which must assess its men of letters in terms of … Continue reading

21 December 2017 · 1 Comment

Claudia Rankine, Citizen

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine My rating: 3 of 5 stars Citizen is a prose-poetry compendium of racial microaggressions aimed at a poetic speaker who nevertheless speaks in … Continue reading

27 November 2017 · 3 Comments

Toni Morrison, Paradise

Paradise by Toni Morrison My rating: 5 of 5 stars Paradise was not well received upon its publication in 1997—influential critics like Michiko Kakutani, James Wood, and Zoë Heller disparaged … Continue reading

10 November 2017 · 7 Comments

Nella Larsen, Quicksand

Quicksand by Nella Larsen My rating: 5 of 5 stars This rigorously ironic 1928 novel of the Harlem Renaissance (its author’s first) has itself, in its afterlife, succumbed to an … Continue reading

16 September 2017 · 5 Comments

James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin My rating: 3 of 5 stars James Baldwin is today so universally beloved, so piously received, that it almost comes as a relief to find … Continue reading

16 December 2016 · 5 Comments

Charles Johnson, Middle Passage

Middle Passage by Charles Johnson My rating: 4 of 5 stars Middle Passage begins with an audacious sentence, “Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common … Continue reading

24 May 2016 · Leave a comment

Toni Morrison, Sula

Sula by Toni Morrison My rating: 5 of 5 stars Sula is an anarchic novel and a conservative one. Toni Morrison, because she is a sort of multicultural figurehead, passes … Continue reading

30 October 2015 · 3 Comments