Absolutely Nothing to Get Alarmed about: The Complete Novels of Charles Wright

Absolutely Nothing to Get Alarmed about The Complete Novels of Charles Wright In The Messenger Wright draws so extensively upon his life that fact and fiction often blur Realistically narrated in the first person by a fair skinned black Manhattanite named Charles Stevens

  • Title: Absolutely Nothing to Get Alarmed about: The Complete Novels of Charles Wright
  • Author: Charles Stevenson Wright
  • ISBN: 9780060969585
  • Page: 467
  • Format: Paperback
  • In The Messenger 1963 , Wright draws so extensively upon his life that fact and fiction often blur Realistically narrated in the first person by a fair skinned black Manhattanite named Charles Stevenson, the novel dramatizes the isolation and alienation of persons who fall prey to America s social, economic, and racial caste systems Stevenson, a New York City messenger,In The Messenger 1963 , Wright draws so extensively upon his life that fact and fiction often blur Realistically narrated in the first person by a fair skinned black Manhattanite named Charles Stevenson, the novel dramatizes the isolation and alienation of persons who fall prey to America s social, economic, and racial caste systems Stevenson, a New York City messenger, constantly finds himself on the edges of power, yet is utterly devoid of any A man perceived as neither black nor white, a minority within a minority, he is cast adrift in the naturalistic city of New York, where victory and defeat are accepted with the same marvelous indifference The Messenger brought Wright recognition and modest commercial success, but initially his 1966 novel The Wig was not well received Today, however, many people would agree with Ishmael Reed s 1973 assertion that The Wig is one of the most underrated novels by a black person in this century John O Brien, Interviews with Black Writers, 1973.Wright s use of fantasy and hyperbole distinguishes The Wig from most African American fiction of the mid 1960s.Set in an America of tomorrow, the novel depicts the desperately failed efforts of a twenty one year old black Harlemite named Lester Jefferson to live the American dream The book ends with his literal and willed emasculation, after Jefferson learns that the money he has earned parading around the streets in New York in an electrified chicken suit will prove useless to his successfully courting the black prostitute he has idealized as his all American girl The years between 1966 and 1973 found Wright in various foreign and domestic locales But his literary psyche remained firmly planted in New York City, the setting of the nonfictional pieces he began writing for the Village Voice, Collected, amended, and supplemented, these columns came to comprise Absolutely Nothing to Get Alarmed About 1973 , a book filled with the same drug users, male and female prostitutes, abusive policemen, and underinquisitive detectives one finds in his novels These, plus America s unstinting racism, have rid Wright of his optimism as surely as Mr Fishback rids Lester Jefferson of his masculinity at the end of The Wig.In 1993, Wright s novels were collected in a publication again titled Absolutely Nothing to Get Alarmed About Complete Novels Reading this collection makes it clear that Charles Wright is an innovator who in breaking with traditional fictional modes during the 1960s helped to negotiate space for Ishmael Reed, Clarence Major, and other African American avantgardists.

    One thought on “Absolutely Nothing to Get Alarmed about: The Complete Novels of Charles Wright”

    1. I can't say I enjoyed this collection of 3 short novels, the writing style is too stream of consciousness for my liking (and The Wig, the middle novel, especially uses considerable symbolism and hyperbole that went over my head). Still, the reader definitely gets a sense of the isolation and loneliness Wright must have felt. The racial injustice that, somehow, still infects our country, is as disturbing as it should be - for example, one character is a neighborhood friend who goes on antique-fin [...]

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