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Erasure by Percival Everett
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Erasure (2001)

by Percival Everett

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A recent Everett book reading reviewed in the context of this book: http://fauxmat.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/percival-thelonious-ellison-everett/ ( )
  alienhard | Mar 26, 2014 |
I rarely know about books before they come out, unless one of my favorite authors is about to publish something new. Everett was someone I'd never heard of, but I waited for this book to come out. And then I found it, and then I read it, and then I gave it to everyone I knew.

And then I found out his life after the book came out, ironically, followed closely the plot of the book. And then I felt guilty.

But I wrote him a fan letter. ( )
  usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
I rarely know about books before they come out, unless one of my favorite authors is about to publish something new. Everett was someone I'd never heard of, but I waited for this book to come out. And then I found it, and then I read it, and then I gave it to everyone I knew.

And then I found out his life after the book came out, ironically, followed closely the plot of the book. And then I felt guilty.

But I wrote him a fan letter. ( )
  usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
A great novel, packed with contradictions: page-turner absorbing, yet deeply thought-provoking. Laugh-out-loud funny yet deeply serious. About racial identity while condemning the whole concept of racial identity.

Monk Ellison is a dour academic and Literary (with a capital L) author, born into an affluent, professional African-American family which defines itself by education and intellect rather than by race. Enraged by the success of an exploitative "black" novel, Monk dashes off a farcical "black" novel of his own. Naturally, it becomes the hugest sensation of the year.

But the almost predictable comedy storyline is merely the skeleton which holds together this fine novel about identity--the social pressure to latch onto a racial identity, and the lack, faking and loss of personal identity. Monk's own identity struggles parallel those of his mother, who is gradually losing hers to Alzheimer's.

Everett shows off his virtuosity as a writer by including the full text of his character's novella, as well as a hilariously obtuse scholarly paper that will offend any literature professor, and a goofy short story.

It isn't often that I find a work that blends satire, rage, pathos and just plain great prose. I'm happy to have found a new favorite author. ( )
  Feign | May 10, 2013 |
3.12
  aletheia21 | Jun 17, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786888156, Paperback)

Hailed by the New York Times as "both a treatise and a romp," a bold and brilliant novel of a man coming to terms with himself.

Now in paperback, this provocative tale within a tale details the life of avant-garde novelist and college professor Thelonious "Monk" Ellison. Monk, frustrated with his dismal book sales, composes a fierce parody of exploitative ghetto literature entitled My Pafology, which is greeted by critics as the work of a great new voice and garners him the success that he covets. Monk's impending struggle with his moral principles emerges as a revolutionary and riotous indictment of race and publishing in America.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:54 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Thelonius "Monk" Ellison is an erudite, accomplished but seldom-read author who insists on writing obscure literary papers rather than the so-called "ghetto prose" that would make him a commercial success. He finally succumbs to temptation after seeing the Oberlin-educated author of We's Lives in da Ghetto during her appearance on a talk show, firing back with a parody called My Pafology, which he submits to his startled agent under the gangsta pseudonym of Stagg R. Leigh. Ellison quickly finds himself with a six-figure advance from a major house, a multimillion-dollar offer for the movie rights and a monster bestseller on his hands. The money helps with a family crisis, allowing Ellison to care for his widowed mother as she drifts into the fog of Alzheimer's, but it doesn't ease the pain after his sister, a physician, is shot by right-wing fanatics for performing abortions. The dark side of wealth surfaces when both the movie mogul and talk-show host demand to meet the nonexistent Leigh, forcing Ellison to don a disguise and invent a sullen, enigmatic character to meet the demands of the market. The final indignity occurs when Ellison becomes a judge for a major book award and My Pafology (title changed to Fuck) gets nominated, forcing the author to come to terms with his perverse literary joke. Percival's talent is multifaceted, sparked by a satiric brilliance that could place him alongside Wright and Ellison as he skewers the conventions of racial and political correctness. (Sept. 21)Forecast: Everett has been well-reviewed before, but his latest far surpasses his previous efforts. Passionate word of mouth (of which there should be plenty), rave reviews (ditto) and the startling cover (a young, smiling black boy holding a toy gun to his head) could help turn this into a genuine publishing event.… (more)

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