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I Can't Wait on God Paperback – October 19, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (October 19, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385483678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385483674
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,161,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's the summer of 1950, on the eve of the Korean War, and Jeremiah Henderson dreams of trading in the slums of Pittsburgh for the high life of New York City. To this end, he proposes a spot of prostitution to his girlfriend, Willet, in order to get enough money to make the break. At the last minute, however, Willet can't go through with it, and her would-be john, a lowlife hustler named Tommy Moses, ends up dead. Albert French's third novel, I Can't Wait on God, is set in the same mean streets often visited by another African American writer, John Edgar Wideman, and it chronicles five days in the lives of the denizens there. While white cops collect clues, the black residents go on about their business, fully aware of who committed the crime but in no hurry to help solve it. Scenes set in the neighborhood and featuring finely drawn characters such as the pushcart vendor Dicky Bird and the street musician Mack Jack are intercut with Jeremiah and Willet's flight from Pittsburgh in Tommy Moses's stolen car. Murder, drug abuse, police brutality, and poverty are the challenges French's characters must face, but in the hardscrabble world he has created, the likelihood that they'll overcome them are slim indeed. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A Spoon River complex of subplots and vignettes spills out of five summer days in a Truman-era Pittsburgh ghetto in French's elegiac third novel (after Billy and Holly). French introduces dozens of characters in this relatively short work, some for no more than a few pages. This large cast serves as a backdrop for two slender, essentially unrelated story lines that emerge from the cyclical rhythms and harsh details of back-alley life. Willet Mercer and her boyfriend, Jeremiah Henderson, strike out for New York with a bankroll and a Buick that belonged to a pimp she has murdered, but she insists that they first head for North Carolina to find the child she abandoned years ago. The second story concerns Mack Jack, a saxophone player who fears he has lost his musical ability. French poignantly captures Mack's frustration as he wanders the neighborhood in a stoic daze, trying to get his nerve back. The vignettes are skillfully drawn?whether of a minister who wears his "preachin suit" to his job cleaning downtown offices because he "wants folks to see who he is before he changes into his cleanin clothes," or of a rooster doomed one morning by its "kiss-my-ass-look." Sometimes the novel's sprawl of anecdote threatens to overwhelm the main plots (and the minor characters are sometimes more vivid than the protagonists), but French's mixture of nostalgia and horror ultimately makes for an evocative work that, alternately brilliant and melodramatic, brims with life. (Aug.) FYI: A paperback edition of French's Vietnam memoir, Patches of Fire, will be published simultaneously by Doubleday.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I think a lot of the magazine reviews have focused on the novel from a sociological standpoint. In that regard, this book would seem like a great novel if the focus was solely on a commnuity. However, if you try to see the characters as INDIVIDUALS, then you won't have much luck getting to know them. There are lots of unanswered questions, the most important one being why did Willet kill Tommy Moses. I understand the circumstances surrounding her preganancy, but the murder is no justification so I did not buy the ending. I just wish I knew the characters a little better. For me, the best part of reading fiction is getting to know the characters, to actually see them as humans; this book misses the mark because all the characters are placed in nice little clumps. You got your nosy, gossipy women, the card playing beer drinking chicken eating men, the pretty but distant woman, the brooding jazz artist, the religious mother. etc; Humans are more complex than that and I would've liked to have seen more well-rounded, more interesitng characterization.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Quickhappy on September 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
French's novel _I Can't Wait On God_ is a powerful work. Like a strange mystery, the murderer is known from the beginning, but her character is completely unknown. At the heart of the tale is Willet, a beautiful woman who seems shallow and wicked. But as the tale builds to its stunning end, it is she who seems human, and the world callous. Black, female, and poor, Willet is at the mercy of men, Whites, and money, and the depth of her character rewrites the book from back to front. A moving and worthwhile work.
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By NYC reader on March 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is impressive for how greatly the whole is greater than, though depends entirely on its part. It's not the quick read I expected. I found myself returning to seemingly insignificant passages about Willet (& others); to small decisions & possessions that were subtly key to story. I'll be reading "I Can't Wait for God" again. It's a no formula, from the mind & heart mystery that's a good read, a damn good read.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was very disappointed in this book. I only finished it because I was hoping the ending would bring meaning to the story. While several interesting characters were introduced in the book, really none of them get fully developed and while I like books which prompt me to think deeper this fell short of that.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Renay on February 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After reading Billy I could not wait to read this book. Mr. French took a different turn with this one. I didn't like the beginning and definitely didn't like the end. I didn't even finish the book, I skimmed to the end and started another. Maybe next time.
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