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The Man Who Haunted Himself  By  cover art

The Man Who Haunted Himself

By: Ishmael Reed
Narrated by: Adam Lazzare White
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Publisher's Summary

Dr. Douglass Garnett is about to break all the rules to save himself—and push mankind into the future.

He’s one of America’s most brilliant neuroscientists. He’s also Black and dying of cancer. But he has a plan—a brain transfer. He’ll put his gifted mind into the body of Sammy Sturgeon, a White high school football star who was on the rise until a touchdown collision left him brain-dead.

He convinces his co-conspirator, Dr. Dino Battaglia, to help him with the forbidden procedure. Douglass wakes up in Sammy’s White, athletic body, with his new family and legions of fans weeping at his miraculous recovery.

As Douglass starts his life anew at Junipero Prep, complications ensue. There’s the messy breakup with Sammy’s blonde cheerleader girlfriend; then there’s an even messier relationship with his high school science teacher, Marie. Before he can win the Nobel Prize—or be charged with murder—Douglass’ transplant will force him to reconsider everything he thought he knew about race, progress, and life in America.

The Man Who Haunted Himself is a new sci-fi-horror classic from legendary author Ishmael Reed, who The New Yorker dubbed “America’s most fearless satirist”. Reed continues the literary tradition of California noir established by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett and issues a new entry into the genre he helped launch, Afrofuturism. This hilariously subversive Audible Original is expertly narrated by Adam Lazarre-White (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal).

Does the body or the brain make the man? Listen and find out.

©2022 Ishmael Reed (P)2022 Audible Originals, LLC.

About the Creator

Ishmael Reed is the author of more than 30 books, including his essay collection, Why No Confederate Statues in Mexico (Baraka Books, 2019); his 11th novel, Conjugating Hindi (Dalkey Archive Press, 2018); and his 11th nonfiction work, The Complete Muhammad Ali (Baraka Books, 2015). In 2019, New York’s Nuyorican Poets Café premiered his ninth play, The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda, which garnered three AUDELCO Awards. His poetry collection, Why the Black Hole Sings the Blues: Poems 2007-2019 (Dalkey, 2020), features "Just Rollin' Along," a poem about the 1934 encounter between Bonnie and Clyde and Oakland Blues artist L.C. "Good Rockin'" Robinson, which was chosen for The Best American Poetry 2019. In addition, Reed has edited numerous magazines and 14 anthologies, including Black Hollywood Unchained (Third World Press, 2015). He is also a publisher, songwriter, cartoonist, public media commentator, lecturer, teacher, and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation and PEN Oakland, nonprofit organizations run by writers for writers.
After teaching at the University of California, Berkeley for more than 30 years, he retired in 2005. Now a Distinguished Professor at California College of the Arts, he also taught a spring 2019 creative writing class at UC Berkeley. He is a MacArthur Fellow and the recipient of many other honors, including a National Book Award, the 2018 Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Award, the 2017 AUDELCO Pioneer Award for the Theater, the University of Buffalo’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, San Francisco LitQuake’s 2011 Barbary Coast Award, and Pulitzer Prize nominations. Reed was also named 2008 Blues Songwriter of the Year by the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame, and his collaborations with jazz musicians spanning 40 years were recognized by SFJazz Center with his appointment, from 2012 to 2016, as San Francisco’s first Jazz Poet Laureate. Additionally, in 2016 he became the first recipient of the Alberto Dubito International Award in Venice, Italy, recognized as "a special artistic individual who has distinguished himself through the most innovative creativity in the musical and linguistic languages."
Photographed by Jason Henry

About the Performer

Adam grew up in New York City, went to public school, The Fieldston School and then Harvard University, graduating with Honors in Government & Political Philosophy. He started at Quarterback for The Harvard Crimson and played guitar and saxophone in The Harvard Jazz Band.
Coming soon as Captain Cam Wilson romancing Wanda Sykes, and across from Mike Epps on the new Netflix show, The Upshaws—Adam's recent work includes the hit film, The Gift, The Blacklist, Lethal Weapon, Glow and Scandal. Adam is known for his 25 year acting career, which began on Living Single, Martin, Hangin’ w/ Mr. Cooper, continued on Will & Grace, The Parkers, as the notorious Flynn in the Emmy-winning NBC mini-series, The Temptations, and being nominated for an NAACP Image Award for his lead role as Nathan Hastings on The Young & The Restless. Notable roles include Ocean’s 13 with Al Pacino, Grey’s Anatomy, Rosewood, Criminal Minds, Royal Pains, Private Practice and starring as Ian on Heroes.
Now, the newest member of the NCIS New Orleans writing team for Season 7—which began airing on Sunday, November 8th, 2020, Adam was a senior writer on Vin Diesel’s groundbreaking web-series, The Ropes (available on Netflix). As a director, Adam reached the third round of Oscar voting with his short film 200 Years produced by Rob Fried ( Collateral, Rudy, Boondock Saints). Adam co-wrote, produced and starred in, Forgiveness with Richard T. Jones, which won The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, International Black Film Festival; swept The San Diego Black Film Festival; was featured at The Pan-African Film Festival and more. Adam adapted and produced TV movies for Proctor & Gamble: Just Passin’ Through and What Angles Fear—both won Emmys for Regional TV and Adam won Regional Emmys as Leading Actor in both. His theatre credits include Mercutio in Michael Arabian’s Romeo & Juliet, Trojan Women; Bobby Seale (Black Panther leader) in Ron Sossi’s Chicago Conspiracy Trial, Neil LaBute’s This Is How It Goes, LATC’s You Morons Shoulda Stayed Home; and John Bishop’s Confluence and Legacies, at Circle Rep West where he was an executive member. Adam is the Founder of ALW Acting Studios, teaching beginners, intermediate, and advanced actors. He is a highly regarded acting coach who coached all the NBA stars in the popular film, Uncle Drew. His students include many well-known working actors. Adam taught at AMDA Conservatory in Los Angeles; at Gray Studios, and was a guest professor for the both drama and film departments at the U. of Alabama, when his film, 200 Years, and presentation, Media, Race & The Power of The Pen were featured at the Civil Rights and Arts Conference at UAB, alongside Harry Belafonte, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

What listeners say about The Man Who Haunted Himself

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Not good at all

Used as a platform not as a novel
So disappointed. Wish I could “un-hear” it.

12 people found this helpful

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This is pure bigotry

The reader perfectly conveys the angry bigotry of the story, audible should fire they’re selection staff before to many people leave.

11 people found this helpful

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Racistical story

I have no clue what Mr.Reed wanted to accomplish with this garbage! I got this book by being misled it would be a thriller, instead I found that this ,I have no word what to call this, is trying to divide our country and it’s people even more, the last thing we need .
To the author himself’ Racism goes both ways!’ I deeply believe in equality of ALL human kind, but I found myself getting upset more each day getting stuff , like this here , shoved down my throat,forcefully! Why can’t we all just be? Are there racists out there? Of cause, but again it’s not only against non whites. We need to let COLORS and FEATURES, Religion and creed go and live each other more! Instead Mr. Reed concentrates on whites which are dying off, further the intended worldwide division of us against each other
As a human being I’m offended by this work of hatred and CANNOT, WILL NOT recommend this piece of lies recommend ever.
If you’re playing with the thought to read,listen to this”BOOK!!??!!??” I advise you to be prepared to get pissed with every word in this
A writer should take us away from hatred, maybe teach us gently to love each other, not to rile up more hatred!
SHAME ON MR.REED!

8 people found this helpful

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Interesting but Not Likeable

This is a difficult book—interesting but not truly likeable. The problems start with the main character, Garnett, who is something of a sociopath interested only in money. He’s also a genius with amazing scientific gifts, but he has no ethical compass at all to help him use his talents in a responsible way. For example, as a child he kidnaps a neighbor, ties him up, and is preparing to try and switch his brain with a cat’s. That experience (and the boy was not playing, the cat brain had already been removed) should have led to him being institutionalized and getting serious help, but his mother merely bribes the parents of the other child so that her son will not suffer any consequences. It should not surprise the reader, therefore, that when the boy grows up, he decides to save his own life by having his brain transferred into the basically healthy body of a high school football player who is brain dead but otherwise physically okay. He doesn’t bother to get anyone’s permission. He just acts as he wants to do.

Then the story gets even more difficult. For Garnett, an African American man, is now inside the body of a white bully who is a member of the most racist white supremacist family living in America’s most racist white supremist community. There is no subtlety here—just the sort of offensive interactions that you see in civil rights documentaries when Governor Bull Connor is setting the dogs loose on protestors and swearing that blacks will never enter white schools. It’s completely over the top and actually diminishes the opportunity Reed is trying to create to discuss some important issues in our society. And keep in mind that the voice through which he is trying to make the case that racism is wrong (something every American should agree with) is someone he purposely made thoroughly dislikable.

There was one scene that I found touching as it unfolded. Garnett talks a young man out of bring a gun into their school and killing a bunch of people. But when thinking back on the scene, I had to ask myself, why did Garnett care? It was out of character for this utterly self-absorbed person to put himself out without some profit for himself. So the best scene in the book was actually poorly written.

6 people found this helpful

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Straight propaganda poorly disguised as a story

Poorly written trash that attempts to insert political taglines every other sentence while attempting to tell a ridiculously terrible story.

2 people found this helpful

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Narrated with no emotional inflection and a story that has potential but wastes time

What if a black genius transferred their brain into a rich white high school jocks body? Hopefully something more interesting than this.

This story had a lot of potential but wanders off to name drop and include details on things that do nothing to progress the story. Normally this doesn’t bother me, but after a 10 minute backstory to a portrait in a room that isn’t even mentioned I was ready to quit. Just include a PDF of all the things you want cite, I don’t need the address for a print shop that’s not even where the character is! It’s felt more like trying to return favors or paid advertisements than world building.

I’m not sure if the author is trying to be satirical, but it’s so woke it does more harm to any messages they want to send than help. Powerful information sandwiched between unimportant details and character building that serves little purpose.

The narration also hurt the book because it’s all read in the same deadpan emotionless tone. They talked of the sister self harming in the same tone that someone earlier toasted a character.

2 people found this helpful

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B.L.M.

I think this could have been a good book, but I stopped listening when it was said that after a cop kills a black person, gets fired moves to a new department and all his new "brother" cops praise him and look up to him, went too far. I don't believe that happens especially in this day and age. This book is to LEFT leaning for me. I think this would have been a good story.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

This story was excellent! The author weaves in historical and contemporary elements that propelled the story and engaged the reader into believing that everything that happened was possible.

1 person found this helpful

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it was a good story

it was a good story and it was performed well I just didn't enjoy the story

1 person found this helpful

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A little preachy

Very good! Interesting and opinionated! Calling attention to contradictory social issues with no real solutions

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  • Glezza
  • 01-27-23

Very interesting story

A very interesting story but it isn’t a horror story it’s more a statement about how society works!
I enjoyed it nonetheless!
Liked the reader gave the story plenty of pace!

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  • Afshan M
  • 12-23-22

Brilliant idea but…

I really enjoyed this book - it’s a great idea and brilliant in parts but abit too simplistic in other parts. Could be totally brilliant with some strong editing and adding characters with a little more depth- loved all the info re minority groups and the history