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Shackling Water Paperback – April 8, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
A talented African-American saxophonist moves from Boston to Harlem to study with the jazz master he idolizes in Mansbach's first novel, a passionate debut that succeeds despite an abundance of plot cliches. Latif Pearson, the young protagonist, gets hooked on the sounds of Albert Van Horn; after years of building his chops, 19-year-old Latif gets up the nerve to make the move to New York, where he spends his nights watching Van Horn play from the sidelines. The dark side of Latif's debut comes when he takes a job running drugs for the local dealer, but he is able to make it work as he adds a relationship to the mix, falling in love with a beautiful white painter named Mona. The ambitious, precocious Latif idolizes Van Horn, but when the older musician finally invites him to some private jam sessions and then onstage, Latif puts so much pressure on himself that he implodes and succumbs to the lures of heroin. Mansbach gets past the hoary plot cliches with some strong characterizations, although his prose waxes purple when he writes about the music and Latif's street life: `The horn dipped and bobbed above the amniotic ocean... vanishing inside the grave of Icarus only to reanimate ichthyoid." Setting aside these flaws, both hardcore and would-be jazz fans will find plenty of meat on the bones of Mansbach's debut; with a more innovative plot, it might have been a truly memorable book. Agent, Richard R. Abate.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
Mansbach's previous book, Go the F*ck to Sleep is a #1 New York Times bestseller, and one of the most talked-about books of the decade. A viral sensation that shot to #1 on Amazon.com months before the book was even available, it has been published in forty languages, and is forthcoming as a feature film from Fox 2000. Mansbach also wrote"Wake the F*ck Up," a pro-Obama video starring Samuel L. Jackson that has been described by many as the greatest political ad of all time. Released online on September 27, 2012, it received 5 million views in its first week.
Mansbach's 2008 novel, The End of the Jews, won the California Book Award and was long-listed for the IMPAC-Dublin Prize. His previous novel, Angry Black White Boy, or The Miscegenation of Macon Detornay, was a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2005; it is taught at more than eighty universities and has been adapted into a prize-winning stage play. He is also the author of the novel Shackling Water, the poetry collection genius b-boy cynics getting weeded in the garden of delights, the graphic novel Nature of the Beast (co-written with Douglas Mcgowan).
An inaugural recipient of the Ford Foundation's Future Aesthetics Artist Grant, Mansbach was also a 2012 Sundance Institute Screenwriting Lab fellow and the recipient of the Indian Paintbrush/Sundance Institute Feature Filmwriting Grant. The 2009-2011 New Voices Professor of Fiction at Rutgers University, he founded, edited and published the pioneering 1990s hip hop journal Elementary and spent several years traveling as a drum technician with the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine. His fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, The Believer, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.
Mansbach's His debut thriller, The Dead Run will be published in September 2013, by HarperCollins. A frequent lecturer on college campuses across the country, Mansbach lives in Berkeley, California, where he co-hosts the KPFA/Pacifica radio show "Father Figures."
Top Customer Reviews
Mansbach tackles these subjects well, making both of these worlds truly come alive as we follow Latif on his journey into manhood and into the world of NYC.
I wholeheartedly recommend this first-timers work and wholeheartedly disagree with the dissenter below. The problems and the beauties of the jazz and hip-hop world can not be brought to light by one novel alone......those who put that responsibility on one writers shoulders will always be disappointed. One writers view will always be a narrow view and I appreciate that Mansbach has opened the door for further discourse.
Bottom line: buy it, read it and look forward to more from Mr. Mansbach.