Moved by the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., Lorenzo "Guts" Tolliver decides to abandon his career as a professional leg breaker and pursue a life of quiet moments and generous helpings of banana pudding in the company of his new, sensuous lover. His erstwhile boss, local kingpin Ananias Goode, is also thinking about slowing down - but his tempestuous affair with Dr. Artinces Noel, a prominent pediatrician, complicates his retirement plan. Meanwhile Charlotte Divine, the doctor's headstrong protégée, struggles with trials of her own.
With prose that's sharp, humorous, and poetic, Jabari Asim skillfully renders a compelling portrait of urban life in the wake of the last major civil-rights bill. Massive change is afoot in America, and these characters have front-row seats.
©2015 Jabari Asim (P)2015 Tantor
"You will rarely find a historical novel that's as panoramic yet also as lean, mean, and moving as this." (Kirkus starred review)
Set at the opening in 1970s Gateway City (St. Louis), this book seemed like it would be a gritty gangster story about Guts Tolliver and his perhaps thwarted efforts to go straight after working as an enforcer/hit man for Ananias Goode. Instead it unfolded into so much more, rolling back in flash backs to events around the Great Migration of African Americans from the South, offering measured portraits of African American characters we often do not see, and giving ultimately a portrait of African American life in the Midwest in the middle of the last century.
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