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Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor Hardcover – January 10, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First U.S. Edition edition (January 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582344345
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582344348
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 6.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #558,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Acclaimed novelist Beatty (Tuff; White Boy Shuffle) models this controversial anthology on a "mix-tape narrative dubbed by a trusted... friend." Like a mix-tape, the collection is intensely personal: its encompassing feature is the bright, plaintive, scathingly ironic voice that introduces the volume and its various sections. Beatty, who "was the butt of the first joke [he'd] ever heard," mines two centuries of African-American culture for speeches, poems, fiction, comics and screenplays that mirror his own glass-cutting wit and satisfy, in places, his taste for "unintentional comedy." (To wit, "The Wit and Wisdom of Mike Tyson.") Apart from usual suspects like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, a Norton anthology this is not. Selections from Fran Ross and Prophet Omega dizzy readers in their logical funhouses. Hattie Gossett's "80s Version of the Dozens" leads them through sewer pipes of lyrical imagination. The volume's general tenor is wild, winking and explosive. As such, it picks up where Chappelle's Show left off—gouging the government, lampooning cultures black and white, leaving no sacred cow unslaughtered. Even the smiling watermelon on the book's front cover has been retained despite sniffs by national media outlets. "This is black humor," Beatty writes, "and I don't mean African-American black." Indeed, at times—as when John Farris's schoolchildren blithely gun down pedestrians—you may need night-vision goggles to find the joke. (Jan.)
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About the Author

Paul Beatty is the author of two novels, Tuff and The White Boy Shuffle, and two books of poetry, Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce. He lives in New York City.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Frank Clover on April 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Just wondering. As a (typically?) paranoid Anglo-American, I may not "get" the secret messages in many of the selections that may or may not be there for an African-American reader, but I found most of the selections in this anthology hilarious. If it inspires anyone of any hyphenation to read complete works by Ishmael Reed or Chester Himes, it will have more than served its purpose.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Loh on April 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Paul Beatty is one of my favorite writers. The intro is hilarious & thoughtful. The short pieces in this book are also very funny. You will enjoy this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. H. DAWKINS-ROSE on July 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
the anthology;s breadth is stunning, insofar as what counts as black, what counts as funny. in the forward Beatty says, if memory is true, that it's like a mixtape--reading the bits compiled on the 'playlist' give you a feeling of what informs Beatty's writing. Another bonus is almost none of this stuff is canonical; this publication is a treasure--from negritude to you!
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