Atlantis

Samuel R. Delany, Author Wesleyan University Press $35 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8195-5283-9
Delany, who's best known for his science fiction (Nova, Dhalgren) takes a variety of literary turns in these three novellas that chronicle the experience of the African American writer in the 20th century. The longest story, ``Atlantis: Model 1924,'' focuses on the impressions of a 17-year-old African American who travels from North Carolina to New York to join his family. Using a mysterious unnamed character who vanishes from a rowboat beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, Delany draws a variety of parallels between the mythic aspects of the Big Apple and the legendary city under the sea, framing the young man's perspective against the achievements of such early 20th-century black luminaries as Paul Robeson, Hart Crane and Jean Toomer. In ``Erik, Gwen, and D.H. Lawrence's Esthetic of Unrectified Feeling,'' Delany paints a portrait of the black artist as a young man, musing on the use of music lessons, art classes and New York private schools to help instill and sustain the instinct to create. ``Citre et Trans'' leans more heavily on plot and narrative and deals, albeit with more style and seriousness, with some of the themes of the author's recently published Hogg. Here, a bisexual African American writer, living in Greece in the mid-1960s, must confront the emotional effects of rape after his roommate picks up a pair of Greek sailors. Balanced and full of intricate layers of prose, these novellas present a potpourri of literary references, detailed flashbacks and experimental page layouts. Delany seamlessly meshes graceful prose, cultural and philosophical depth and a knowledge of different forms and voices into a truly heady, literate blend. (May)
Reviewed on: 07/03/1995
Release date: 07/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-8195-6312-5
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-585-37119-1
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-8195-7193-9
Open Ebook - 978-1-283-11001-3
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