Wideman’s novel is disguised as the project of a contemporary African American novelist, Thomas, who undertakes writing a life of Fanon. The result is an electrifying mix of perspectives, traveling from Manhattan to Paris to Algeria to Pittsburgh. Part whodunit, part screenplay, part love story, Fanon introduces the French film director Jean-Luc Godard to the ailing Mrs. Wideman in Homewood and chases the meaning of Fanon’s legacy through our violent, post-9/11 world, which seems determined to perpetuate the evils Fanon sought to rectify.
John Edgar Wideman's fractured and complex novel (the 18th book from the PEN/Faulkner and MacArthur Fellow) revolves around the historical figure of Frantz Fanon, a psychologist and revolutionary from the French colony of Martinique who advocated violent revolution in his famous text THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH and fought against French colonists in Algeria. Wideman's narrative threads include biographical vignettes about Fanon himself; the story of a screenwriter named Thomas who seeks to turn Fanon's life into a film to be directed by Jean-Luc Godard--and receives his own decapitated head in the mail; and the ruminations of Thomas's twin brother (named John Edgar Wideman) on the psychic and political meaning of Fanon's life and work in the context of the imperialist tendency abroad in Iraq, and also at home--in the American inner city and prison system. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2008.
- Fiction + Literature Themes, Fiction + Literature Genres
- Society + Social Issues, Settings, Types of Characters, Literary Genres + Types of Novels, Politics
- April 16, 2010
- April 16, 2010
- John Edgar Wideman