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Fanon Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 7, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (February 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618942637
  • ASIN: B0064XDUP4
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,567,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Psychiatrist and revolutionary Frantz Fanon (1925–1961) fought to free Algeria from French rule, and wrote several key texts on colonialism, including The Wretched of the Earth. Wideman (Brothers and Keepers) offers a fragmented look at Fanon's life, presenting three narratives in fits and starts. The first documents episodes from Fanon's life, including his Martinique childhood and death in a Bethesda, Md., hospital. In the second, a 60-year-old novelist named Thomas writes a screenplay about Fanon that he hopes to sell to Jean-Luc Godard, and, in a jarring narrative turn, receives a package that contains his own head. In the third, a character named John Edgar Wideman writes about his twin (Thomas), wrestles with his obsession with Fanon, visits his imprisoned brother Rob and thinks about his wheelchair-bound mother in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh (where Wideman grew up and has set many past stories). Some of the Fanon anecdotes are excellent, but the book as a whole is a series of glittering dead ends, interspersed with thoughts on writing and current affairs, and the irritating story of Thomas's head. Beautifully written but inconclusive, Wideman's 18th book is best approached as a meditation on fiction and character. (Feb.)
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Review

"By the end of this thrilling, important novel, which is by turns eloquent, despairing and heartbrokenly hopeful, Fanon has come to be more than a revolutionary" (New York Times Book Review )

More About the Author

JOHN EDGAR WIDEMAN is the author of more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, including the award-winning Brothers and Keepers, Philadelphia Fire, and most recently the story collection God's Gym. He is the recipient of two PEN/ Faulkner Awards and has been nominated for the National Book Award. He teaches at Brown University.

Customer Reviews

2.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Guest on January 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book uses the idea of Frantz Fanon, and a few details of his life, as a device for meditating on Wideman's own life and our conflicted modern society. It is somewhat interesting as a work of literary art, in that it provides a fairly abstract stream of consciousness about identity and society. I suspect that it would have been particularly interesting if I were a slightly past middle aged African American male intellectual--which I am not.

Instead, I'm a reader interested in narrative and in Frantz Fanon. There is not much of either here. I read this book because it was in the NYTimes top 100 of the year, and got the impression it was a fictionalized narrative about pursuing Fanon's legacy. I suppose it is about that, but only in the most abstract sense. Mostly it is flitering thoughts about black power, intellectuals, prison, receiving heads in the mail, Pittsburgh, old age, colonialism, etc.. There does seem to be an element of self-indulgence in the writing here, but I was not completely put off by that: Wideman is clearly a brilliant man with interesting experiences and perspectives. So I did read the book with some appreciation for the thinking involved, and I suspect a specific type of reader might really enjoy this book. But ultimately I didn't get fully engaged, nor did I take much away beyond an abstract appreciation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Prim on August 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is a disappointment. It's not the novelization of Fanon that's amiss her; it's the modest use of his life that grates on the readers' sensitivities. There is so much to Fanon's life that one can draw from to write an interesting novel!

I stumbled on a site, negritudeagonistesbook, that has a recording of Fanon speaking about Félix Houphouët-Boigny. What's striking about that recording is not Fanon's criticism of Houphouët - it's to be expected. What's arresting is that Fanon has absolutely no trace of his Martinican accent. He sounds like a Frenchman from the Île-de-France region. To be clear, his accent is not the Negro de Paris accent adopted by those he criticizes in Peau Noire Masque Blanc. He has a genuine French accent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Coombs on August 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
A realist novel about Fanon this is not: but it is a beautiful collage of Wideman's life work. Readers of Fanon's other texts, perhaps especially Brothers and Keepers, will recognize Wideman's prose style,narrative experiments, and concern with the matrix of relationships between kin at once trapped in the clock-time of our everyday life and the Great Time in which converge the temporalities of past, present, and future.

The scenes in which John Edgar Wideman (as narrator and counterpart to the persona of "Thomas") imagines his mother with Fanon as he lay dying in a Bethesda, MD hospital are exquisite the thoughtful. In an interview elsewhere, Wideman explains that his mother and Fanon represent for him exemplary and personal models of how to live ethically, in ordinary life and in the public history of political revolution, respectively.

Fanon has been the subject of a resurgent interest in post-colonial and radical anti-colonial Black theory--Wideman's novel bears the melancholy traces of a time (our time) when the hopes for anti-colonial revolutions have diminished even as the rights for which people fought continue to be ignored.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cactus Mitch on December 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Last year, John Edgar Wideman published "Fanon; a Novel."

I'm struggling through it, not because it's such a very bad book, but because it deals with decolonization of his mind quite a bit more roughly than I'm ready for. The head in a box delivered by the UPS man is a strong, hopefully only literary image. Mr. Wideman writes to Fanon, not so much about him, except that knowledge of how Fanon inspired the oppressed to find liberation is very important. Mr. Wideman has some bones to pick, and the gumption to pick at them.

Decolonizing ones mind and spirit can be a very messy business. Other reviewers may have missed this point. Courage all!

P.S. I'm an older white man in a long term inter-racial marriage and late in life discovering how pervasive colonization has been.
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