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Philadelphia Fire: A Novel Paperback – January 26, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
The book explores the jagged edges between fictional protagonists (Cudjoe, then Caliban, and finally a homeless man named J.B.) and an ostensibly non-fictional speaker (a version of Wideman himself, hinting at family dysfunctions such as the incarceration of his son for murder). It also explores the jagged edges separating his own text from, and linking it to, precursory texts by Shakespeare, Joyce, William Carlos Williams, Robert Lowell, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Eldridge Cleaver, Marcolm X, and others.
If you're looking for a cohesive, traditional story, this is not your book. It purposely does not give us pay-offs in scenes and plot developments that it arranges for us to expect. But if you're looking for continual surprise and dislocation, stylistic bravado and beauty, and an often profound meditation on African America, on masculine anguish and self-delusion, and on the American problem more generally, this book is for you.
On the whole, I found its style difficult, but do not let this discourage you, as the experience of reading this novel outweighs the sluggishness of certain points.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
i didnt finish this book, and therefore gave it an extra star beyond what i really felt about it - giving it the benefit of the doubt. Read morePublished on May 24, 2009 by kinopku
starts out as though it's gonna tell a story, then the plot is just abandoned -- forget it, it's never resolved -- and part two is supposedly the author musing about "what... Read morePublished on September 20, 2001
Wideman's book, Philadelphia Fire, starts with an absorbing idea - Cudjoe, an African-American expatriate, recently returned from Mykonos, returns to Philadelphia to write a novel... Read morePublished on July 17, 2001 by K. Fromal
In Philadelphia Fire Wideman takes on the task of engaging with issues important to the African American community while at the same time presenting them from a modernist... Read morePublished on January 27, 2001