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Erasure

by Percival Everett

Thelonius Ellison (Monksie) writes experimental literary fiction but, as a black man, is accused as 'not being black enough' in his work. Disgusted by the critical acclaim awarded to a black trashy novel, he responds by writing a 'ghetto-talk' parody under an assumed name which becomes a runaway success. Sharp and funny, this is savage satire with a compelling and moving sub-plot of a family struggling with old age, illness and death.

Extract

I called my agent to check on the status of my novel and he had no good news for me. Three more editors had turned me down. 'Too dense,' one had said. 'Not for us,' a simple reply from another. And, 'The market won't support this kind of thing,' from the third ....

'I don't know what to tell you,' Yul said. 'If you could just write something like Second Failure again.' ...

Second Failure: My 'realistic' novel. It was received nicely and sold rather well. It's about a young black man who can't understand why his white-looking mother is ostracized by the black community.

Parallels

Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers
 

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