Friday, May 18, 2007

An heir to Burroughs...

You might not think it, because too often African-American writers are pigeonholed into one category or another based on their race and their major themes and concerns, but I think that Ishmael Reed might be one of the most accomplished successors of Burroughs around. Reed deals with the African American experience in the United States in a very surreal and conceptual way, mixes in the fantastic, and uses techniques, approaches, and sensibilities, that can be recognized as very Burroughs-ian, if you can allow such a word. I'm reading, on again, off again, "Mumbo Jumbo", which exemplifies his style very well.

From Powells.com's Publisher's Comments: "The Classic Freewheeling Look at Race Relations Through the Ages, Mumbo Jumbo is Ishmael Reed's brilliantly satiric deconstruction of Western civilization, a racy and uproarious commentary on our society. In it, Reed, one of our preeminent African-American authors, mixes portraits of historical figures and fictional characters with sound bites on subjects ranging from ragtime to Greek philosophy."

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