Khary Lazarre-White. Seven Stories, $23.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-60980-783-2
In his debut novel, lawyer and activist Lazarre-White describes the day-to-day life of Warrior, a high school kid in 1993 Harlem, who is black, smart, responsible, and thoughtful, with kind parents, an adorable little sister, and the perfect girlfriend. Warrior, though, is also angry—about the cops, about his teachers, and about the fact that his friend is in prison. But instead of breathing life into Warrior’s reality or providing for him a voice that would resonate with readers, the writing is clichéd, the dialogue especially wooden. Talking with his mother one morning, Warrior says, “Mamma, I have parents who have taught me well. I know the importance of blood and love.” To which she responds, “Part of being a mother, my wise son, is telling and retelling. It’s what we’ve done since the beginning of time.” Most of the book’s parental interactions are like this—one step away from sage, Yoda-style homilies. Warrior’s father also lacks dimension: he lives in Brooklyn, in a brownstone where he listens to jazz and cooks Caribbean food, and seems to care only about the Knicks. One snowy day, Warrior walks outside his mother’s apartment to find their Harlem neighborhood swarming with cops—a boy has been shot and people are rioting. But even this tension and violence are presented in flat, stale prose. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/24/2017
Release date: 09/26/2017
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-1-60980-784-9
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