Echo Tree

Henry Dumas, edited by Eugene B. Richmond. Coffee House, $19.95 trade paper (424p) ISBN 978-1-56689-607-8
This vital collection gathers the thrilling, variegated short fiction of Dumas, who in 1968 was killed by a police officer in New York City at the age of 33. A pair of vigorous introductory essays by Redmond and John Keene cast Dumas as an immensely influential writer, an heir to African and Black arts movements who sought to forge a new, emancipatory aesthetic. Dumas’s work exhibits a wide stylistic range, from realism, allegory, and folklore to trippy supernaturalism. Set largely in Arkansas and Harlem, the stories’ Black male protagonists negotiate hardscrabble and often mysterious landscapes. In “Harlem,” a stentorian street preacher maps out the “unexplored territory” of the Black soul, while in the title story, Dumas captures the needling camaraderie of young men fishing on the Mississippi, their laughter accompanied by a keen awareness of the danger of straying beyond circumscribed boundaries. In “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” a rare instrument called an “afro-horn” gives a white cultural critic a more intense listening experience than he bargained for. The aural element culminates in “The Metagenesis of Sunra,” a vivid fable about a messiah figure crusading against forces of darkness. This collection resounds with a piercing voice that demands to be heard. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/08/2021
Release date: 05/04/2021
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 381 pages - 978-1-56689-149-3
Paperback - 440 pages - 978-1-56689-512-5
Open Ebook - 978-1-56689-613-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-7135-5453-0
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