My Amputations

Clarence Major, Author F2c $15.95 (205p) ISBN 978-0-914590-96-5
Stuffed with references to Ishmael Reed, William Carlos Williams and other literati too numerous to mention, this novel, winner of a 1986 Western States Book Award, is an Alice-in-Wonderland trip through the literary life as perceived by one Mason Ellis. Ellis, a black man who grew up in the Chicago slums, is now a convicted felon in Attica. While there, Ellis becomes convinced that a novelist he sees on the prison TV has somehow stolen a novel that he has written. Upon his release from jail, Ellis kidnaps the novelist and takes his place in the literary life, hobnobbing with writers and groupies and lecturing cross-country, leaving readers to wonder who's crazier, the literati or the convict. The book's frantic, rhythmic prose will not be everyone's cup of tea. Some may find it evocative and inventive; others, merely gimmicky and pretentious. (August 1pGordon's (The Rabbi compelling third novel recreates the 11th century so powerfully that the reader is propelled through its several hundred pages by a tidal wave of vivid imagination and authentic detail. The story concerns Robert Jeremy Cole, who by dint of talent, intelligence and determination surmounts an orphaned childhood in the streets of King Canute's London to become a learned physician and philosopher. In nicely crafted, flowing prose with sharply delineated characterizations, Gordon describes Rob J.'s life and times. The young man discovers his vocation while apprenticed to a peripatetic barber-surgeon and determines to travel to Persia where he will study at the hospital established by world-famous physician Ibn Sina. Because of the stifling power of religious fanaticism, Rob J. finds it necessary to pretend to be a Jew, the despised of both Christianity and Islam, while studying medicine and the Qu'ran at the Islamic University. He is recognized as a physician of remarkable ability before events force him to flee with his family back to England, where he encounters further problems. More than just a masterful historical re-creation, this is also a powerful story of the frustrations of those who seek knowledge for its own sake and the benefit of others, but are hampered and threatened by dogmatic, ideological intolerance. Gordon promises a sequel to this fine saga of one family's medical vocation. Literary Guild alternate. (August 7)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Hardcover - 205 pages - 978-0-914590-97-2
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