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Living in the Enemy’s Dream

Michael Wood, 27 November 1997

The Cattle Killing 
by John EdgarWideman.
Picador, 212 pp., £16.99, August 1997, 0 330 32789 5
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Brothers and Keepers 
by John EdgarWideman.
Picador, 243 pp., £6.99, August 1997, 0 330 35031 5
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... Maybe this is a detective story,’ a character thinks in John EdgarWideman’s novel Philadelphia Fire (1990). It’s a reasonable suspicion, and would be for anyone in any of Wideman’s books that I’ve read. But they are not detective stories ...

Getting on

Joyce Carol Oates, 12 January 1995

Colored People: A Memoir 
by Henry Louis Gates.
Viking, 216 pp., £16, January 1995, 0 670 85737 8
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... by the gifted black writers Brent Staples (Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White) and John EdgarWideman (Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers and Sons, Race and Society). One wonders what Gates’s fate might have been if he had been born in a black urban ghetto, and not in Piedmont, West Virginia. Among ...

The Last Witness

Colm Tóibín: The career of James Baldwin, 20 September 2001

... or was it, as the writer Hilton Als put it, ‘a high-faggot style’, or did it originate, as John EdgarWideman claimed, from a mixture of the King James Bible and African American speech? Was it full of the clarity, eloquence and intelligence that Chinua Achebe suggested? And was Baldwin’s involvement with the ...

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