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Mumbo Jumbo Paperback – June 11, 1996
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Top Customer Reviews
It's great. There's a story there, but it doesn't read like Aesop or Mother Goose. There are themes and messages aplenty, but not if you focus on your frustration with the look and feel of the book. As other reviews have indicated, there is a collage effect here. The juxtaposition of historical and fictional characters and situations is a tongue-in-cheek way of understanding how the dead white men of yore responded to the presence of an African cultural presence in the US despite myriad safeguards against it.
In Reed's nothing-short-of-brilliant book, the Wallflower Order (guess which of the two previously described groups they are) get all bent out of shape because there's this "mumbo jumbo" "voodoo" dancing breaking out even in society's most prudish circles. Where did it come from? It "Jes Grew". And so it becomes--an epidemic!
Anyone who has ever considered the question of "soul" will enjoy this book. Anyone who enjoys detective novels would really like this book as that is the basic style--but if you're coming straight from Agatha Christie, maybe do some decompression someplace before you dive in, 'cause it won't be as rigidly predetermined.
If you go to an airport bookshop and see plenty formulaic bestsellers you'd rather read, stick with your conscience and do that. If you're ready to read a book that invites you to take part in the construction of the plot, this book is for you.Read more ›
Make sure that you have done a refresher on the Crusades and the Harlem Renaissance so you can keep up with the some of the allusions. Make no mistake this is a dense little novel and requires close attention to all the characters and the different names they go buy.
Though difficult, the novel turns out to be one of the finest and most innovative in it depiction of the how race and culture have come to together and tranformed one another in America.
If you need a one sentence statement of its story, the novel is about how the white establishment tries to stamp out an epidemic of "jes grew," which is the need to dance, to express one's soul, embodied in jazz spreading from New Orleans to other cities, even (horrors!) to white youth. The novel uses postmodernist techniques (e.g. anomalies, pastiche, document quotation) and moves back and forth from its why whites can't dance and were alarmed at the "jungle music" of jazz and by the sensuality of the jitterbug, Black Muslim values (Reed doesn't like them), New Orleans voo doo,the Knights Templar, the Harlem Renaissance, and first world theft of other cultures' artifacts.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good book. Had to read this for my 241 English class and it was a bit of a challenge to follow the plot, however the epilogue ties the whole book together. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Christine
Not enough can be said about this book. I tried to read it years ago, but was unable to get a grip on it. That has certainly changed. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Milton D James-Suggs
This is the novel that changed my life and academic career in the Lockwood Library at University at Buffalo (SUNY). Read morePublished 20 months ago by Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure
Consider the amount of writing that is written in the book. The price that I pay for it did not match, but since it s sold form Goodwill...Published on January 31, 2014 by Sheila li
This is a modern classic, which relates the true influence of African-American culture
on our broader American culture. Read more
... the collection of 1 star reviews from a crew of young politicaly correct students do not properly understand the works for which they publish reviews? Read morePublished on July 27, 2013 by Bill King