The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas: Stories

Reginald McKnight, Author Little Brown and Company $18.45 (194p) ISBN 978-0-316-56056-6
Filled with sharp humor and pitch-perfect dialogue, these seven stories explore African American experience with telegraphic urgency. In the deeply satisfying title story, which won an O. Henry Award, an insecure 12-year-old, son of an Air Force sergeant who's away in Vietnam, defeats the school bully. The young hero is black, his tormentor is white, and the story tackles institutionalized racism and the hollowness of Lyndon Johnson's ``Great Society'' as experienced in Waco, Tex. Even more impressive is ``Roscoe in Hell,'' a supernatural yet scathingly realistic fantasy about a crack addict looking back on his life from the vantage point of a free-for-all party in his new abode, hell. ``Soul Food'' mirrors the soul of a homeless pickpocket/ex-male prostitute. In the raucous ``Peacetime,'' set in East L.A. in 1973, a sensitive, flute-playing Marine almost loses his virginity under the tutelage of two scary dudes. The fable ``Homunculus,'' centered on a lovesick poet, is a pool of wisdom about art as both mediator and cannibalizer of life. A master of narrative pacing, novelist McKnight ( I Get on the Bus ) evokes a quicksand world where survival is a victory. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-316-56059-7
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