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Erasure: A Novel by Percival Everett
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Erasure: A Novel (original 2001; edition 2011)

by Percival Everett (Author)

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9373722,690 (4.07)76
Fiction. Literature. HTML:

Percival Everett's blistering satire about race and publishing, now adapted for the screen as the Academy Award-winning AMERICAN FICTION, directed by Cord Jefferson and starring Jeffrey Wright
Thelonious "Monk" Ellison's writing career has bottomed out: his latest manuscript has been rejected by seventeen publishers, which stings all the more because his previous novels have been "critically acclaimed." He seethes on the sidelines of the literary establishment as he watches the meteoric success of We's Lives in Da Ghetto, a first novel by a woman who once visited "some relatives in Harlem for a couple of days." Meanwhile, Monk struggles with real family tragedies—his aged mother is fast succumbing to Alzheimer's, and he still grapples with the reverberations of his father's suicide seven years before.
In his rage and despair, Monk dashes off a novel meant to be an indictment of Juanita Mae Jenkins's bestseller. He doesn't intend for My Pafology to be published, let alone taken seriously, but it is—under the pseudonym Stagg R. Leigh—and soon it becomes the Next Big Thing. How Monk deals with the personal and professional fallout galvanizes this audacious, hysterical, and quietly devastating novel.

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Member:kimberlyklett
Title:Erasure: A Novel
Authors:Percival Everett (Author)
Info:Graywolf Press (2011), 280 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
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Work Information

Erasure by Percival Everett (2001)

  1. 10
    Native Son by Richard Wright (susanbooks)
  2. 00
    Yellowface by R. F. Kuang (nessreader)
    nessreader: Both about race, writing, and publishing
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» See also 76 mentions

English (34)  French (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
A unique and wonderful novel. The weird interludes made the story more interesting in many ways, I will admit that when I got to his academic paper and the novel within the novel, my first thought was-am I meant to read this? I skimmed the novel as it was largely unreadable but then that makes the whole thing more hilarious.
  BookyMaven | May 24, 2024 |
Read this on audio. This was a very interesting book in both premise and writing style. The premise is that Thelonious Ellison, an African American Professor of English Literature and novelist, is struggling with his career, and his family (especially with his Mother, who is starting to succumb to dementia. He writes "literature" and can't get his books published anymore because he isn't "black enough". After a first time author writes a stereotypical urban novel and it gains wide success, he sort of snaps and writes what in his mind is a satirical response to her book, pretending to be a black convict writing about his experiences. He calls it My Pafology and after publishers climb all over themselves to get it, he renames it Fuck. And its still an unexpected/amazing (to him) runaway success. The interesting stylistic take is that its a book within a book. The middle part is the reading of My Pafology. Such an interesting wide shift in tone and dialog, as expected. A really good read. Its been made into a movie called American Fiction staring Jeffrey Wright. ( )
  mahsdad | Apr 19, 2024 |
There is so much going on here that not every plot thread seems to get the attention it deserves, but the overall effect is both hilarious and sad. The protagonist and narrator is an African-American author of what seem to be almost unreadable novels who, upset at the praise for a semi-literate best seller about ghetto life, writes his own book in response, then publishes it under another name. It's easy to guess what's going to end up happening, although I wish the book had just a few more pages at the end. The book he writes, which he insists be published as "Fuck" is included in its entirety, and it is hysterically funny in its excess of expletives and sordid tale of a teenager who has already fathered four babies by four women and isn't done yet. Besides that main thread, Everett also focuses on the relationships of the author with his aging mother, who is succumbing to Alzheimer's, her long-time live-in housekeeper, his deceased doctor father, his doctor sister--who is beset by pro-life demonstrators and death threats at her clinic in Washington, DC--and his brother, now a plastic surgeon in Arizona, who is going through a life crisis of his own. Oh yes, there are also secrets to discover, relationships to have and sever, and all sorts of satire about the literary world as the author is chosen to serve on a prestigious panel to select the year's best book. Throughout, Everett intersperses conversations between noteworthy historical figures, some of which are pretty funny. All in all, this is a book unlike any other you've ever read in its weird combination of things. Almost as if the author didn't know if he'd get another chance and put all his ideas into this one book. (From my subsequent exposure to Everett, this is NOT the case, however.) But despite coming up short here and there (the thread about the sister, for instance, doesn't really get as much attention as it should), I'm glad Everett aimed high. (And who would want to miss the reality TV scene in the novel within the novel!) I will definitely check out more of his work.

I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator is superb. Audiobook narrators usually are, but this one is even more superb than that. ( )
  datrappert | Apr 6, 2024 |
This novel is crammed with ancillary literary ephemera that makes me feel dumb. My fault, not the author's. After the movie American Fiction, I had to read my first Everett writing, and it is clear that the filmmakers made a much softer story than the book tells. Thelonious Monk is a much unhappier person than Jeffrey Wright was scripted in the movie. And a much more learned and erudite man. And his family situation is even more painful - not sure why the film chose to avoid the real cause of sister Lisa's death. Brother Bill's character is also softened and expanded in the film. All of this because this is a hard, sad, hopeless novel, but brimming with incredibly creative flourishes. The most joyous parts are when various historical figures of artists, filmmakers, and writers join up for italicized rap battles - Oscar Wilde vs James Joyce, Mark Rothko vs Alain Renais, DW Griffith vs Richard Wright. The text also includes Stagg R. Leigh's novel My Pafology, a/k/a/ Fuck, and a deliberately miserable read, for dialect and contents. Summary: I know a bit more about this man, smartass and hardass. ( )
  froxgirl | Apr 4, 2024 |
Really great. Then watched American Fiction.
  glorians | Apr 2, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Ecriture simple et attentive, sens des dialogues, ce roman veut croire qu'il y a encore une vie hors du clinquant médiatique. Et que toute parcelle d'humanité n'est pas encore effacée.
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Percival Everettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Crisden, SeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I could never tell a lie that anybody would doubt, nor a truth that anybody would believe.
Mark Twain, Following the Equator
Dedication
For my best friend, my lover, my life, Chessie
First words
My journal is a private affair, but as I cannot know the time of my coming death, and since I am not disposed, however unfortunately, to the serious consideration of self-termination, I am afraid that others will see these pages.
Quotations
It is incredible that a sentence is ever understood.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:

Percival Everett's blistering satire about race and publishing, now adapted for the screen as the Academy Award-winning AMERICAN FICTION, directed by Cord Jefferson and starring Jeffrey Wright
Thelonious "Monk" Ellison's writing career has bottomed out: his latest manuscript has been rejected by seventeen publishers, which stings all the more because his previous novels have been "critically acclaimed." He seethes on the sidelines of the literary establishment as he watches the meteoric success of We's Lives in Da Ghetto, a first novel by a woman who once visited "some relatives in Harlem for a couple of days." Meanwhile, Monk struggles with real family tragedies—his aged mother is fast succumbing to Alzheimer's, and he still grapples with the reverberations of his father's suicide seven years before.
In his rage and despair, Monk dashes off a novel meant to be an indictment of Juanita Mae Jenkins's bestseller. He doesn't intend for My Pafology to be published, let alone taken seriously, but it is—under the pseudonym Stagg R. Leigh—and soon it becomes the Next Big Thing. How Monk deals with the personal and professional fallout galvanizes this audacious, hysterical, and quietly devastating novel.

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