Category Archives: A History of the African-American People [proposed] by Strom Thurmond

A History of African-American People [proposed] by Strom Thurmond As Told to Percival Everett & James Kincaid

If you need to have likable, believable characters, this IS NOT the book you need to read.  If you need to have nice tidy endings with some deep revelations, this IS NOT the book!  Ridiculousness, trash-talking, and riffing is the grit that carries the year long correspondence between the whack-a-loons that make up for hilarous, slightly offensive, quirky “novel”.

Strom Thurmond actually shows up a little over half-way through the book.  The correspondences of all involved only document the PROPOSED book title as Strom is trying to “clean-up” his act has he realizes his mortality is near.  I kept thinking that the Barton Wilkes character was going to be a manifestation of Strom’s senility…was I right in thinking so?  You’ll just have to read it for yourself.  The book is good for some laugh out loud moments and may be of deeper interest if you happen to work in politics, academia, and/or publishing.   I will hold to the assertion that this book was Everett’s and Kincaid’s statement to the establishment saying “all Y’all can kiss my ass!”

Online info regarding James Kincaid who I am unfamiliar with prior to this book left me disturbed and cold.  The sexual proclivities found in the novel could be his contribution to the book.  It was my suspicion that the sexual references added shock-value and elevated the bizarre faculties of all involved and was a way to keep the characters at a distance from the reader.  After a much generalized info on Kincaid’s research interests, however, it may have to do more with Kincaid’s research assertions which are not quite clear to me and troubling enough that I don’t want to investigate further.  I might consider reading Erasure by Everett in the far-off future since somewhere online I read that it garnered him many enemies, both Black and White.

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A History of the African-American People [Proposed] by Strom Thurmond AS TOLD TO PERCIVAL EVERETT & JAMES KINCAID

This has been the most baffling (yet funny) novel I have read in a very long time.  I had to come and check in about it now that I’m just over a third-way through.  I’m recalling the novels of Ishmael Reed and poems by Sterling Brown but can’t yet say exactly why.  It has been decades since I’ve read Reed but do recall the wild unpredictable twists and turns in his novels and the humor as well.  And it is Brown’s Slim Greer in Hell that shares the tone of this novel.

It is going down through a series of letters and memos between a publishing house, academia, and political arena.  Amongst this correspondence, are personal quirky revelations along with “business matters” that so far include 6 characters, presumably.  The strangest, maybe, since they are all quite unsettled, is Wilkes, the personal assistant representing Thurmond, (so far Thurmond remains addressed in 3rd party).  Not only is he, unbeknownst to himself, an oddity and peculiar man, but he is the most condescending toward all others that make up this novel; Jim and Percival (yes the author has placed himself as novelist of the novel, both inside and outside of the actual book who represent academia; Juniper and Martin, underling and upperling at the publishing house; Wilkes and Thurmond representing the political arm of this story.

Of course I had to go digging around the net about Percival Everett, because I started to wonder if my memory had failed me and there was actually no such writer and suspecting the name was a pseudonym.  This interview shed a little light, not much, but a little for my imagination to take off.

At this point I’m feeling Everett is making a statement on what he sees as an incestuous nature between academia, politics, and publishing.  And somehow as a writer and professor, might just be saying and all yall can kiss my ass.  I’ll report back when I’m 2/3rds of the way through.  Peace.

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