cover image Revolutions of All Colors

Revolutions of All Colors

Dewaine Farria. Syracuse Univ, $22.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8156-1126-4

Farria chronicles in his engrossing debut the lives of three young Black men partly through stories of their parents and a surrogate father figure. Black Panther activist Ettie Moten leaves New Orleans in the mid 1970s to be a prison counselor in Oklahoma and has a son, Simon. Coworker Frank Mathis helps to guide Simon along with Frank’s two sons, Michael and Gabriel. Though Ettie’s voice captivates, the story mainly belongs to the boys, whose presence is felt through indelible turns of phrase (Simon, for instance, “was stingy with his grins, like each one cost him fifty bucks and he was on a limited income”). While Simon’s sections are oddly written in second-person, the descriptions of him learning combat medicine in Somalia and becoming an MMA fighter after he returns home are vivid. Gabriel’s richly layered story follows his early interest in dance before he remakes himself as a writer, though it’s occasionally bogged down with lengthy descriptions of partying and womanizing. Michael, meanwhile, moves to New York City to work in fashion. While the various threads leave a few too many loose ends, a wonderfully kaleidoscopic portrait emerges of Black masculinity. Despite its episodic nature, this grips the reader from start to finish. (Nov.)