I Get on the Bus

Reginald McKnight, Author Little Brown and Company $17.45 (296p) ISBN 978-0-316-56055-9
McKnight's ( Moustapha's Eclipse ) first novel is set in Senegal, where Evan Norris, a restless Afro-American from Denver, has wandered to escape his comfortable middle-class existence and near-engagement to a racially aware, black American psychiatrist. Recruited by the Peace Corps, he fights off malarial fever while wondering, ``Am I black enough now . . . ?'' Quitting the Corps, Norris then drifts ``half-bemused, half-terrified'' through a series of surreal experiences punctuated by nightmarish bus rides. Exhausted, he ends up in a tiny village, where he is cared for by the family of a marabou , or holy man. There Norris becomes lost in a contemplation of the forces that have shaped him, a growing paranoia about evil spirits and a steamy relationship with the marabou's beautiful, American-educated daughter. Winner of the 1988 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, McKnight writes in an incantatory, original voice about the struggle for black identity. While his protagonist at times wallows in self-pity, and his plot leans heavily on the exotic, the volume offers a riveting, dramatic vision of the oft-told story of returning to one's roots. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-316-56058-0
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