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Tales of the Out & Gone Paperback – December 1, 2009

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The same rhetorical bomb throwing that drew attention to Baraka for his poem "Who Blew Up America" shoots through these stories written from 1974 through the present. Baraka works over issues of politics, race, sex and the afterlife, though the focus is always on ideas and wordplay. In "Conrad Loomis and the Clothes Ray," the narrator's friend Conrad reveals his new invention, a "clothes ray" that zaps the illusion of natty clothing onto the body of a naked person. Loomis describes himself as "outtelligent," which is superior to plain intelligence because it represents a brightness focused outward rather than inward. He also explains that while most people can understand problems, he can both "over and understand them." Linguistic ticks and characters like Loomis represent the engaging but intellectually imprecise core of this collection. At their best, these stories stretch language and churn out grimly whimsical notions, but Baraka also misfires, tweaking language into meaninglessness, or, for instance, melding The Matrix with hoary 9/11 conspiracy theories. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

In his signature politically piercing and poetic staccato style, Baraka offers a perspective on social and political changes and a fresh view of the possibilities that language presents in exploring human passions. The first part of this collection of short stories focuses on politics of the 1970s and 1980s, when economic prospects were so bleak that muggers were mugging muggers, black mayors replaced white mayors with very little else changing, and revolutionaries were severely compromised. In the second part, Baraka offers pieces from the late 1980s through the current day, again spotting hypocrisy on all fronts and exhibiting the joy of language and self-expression and an abiding appreciation for a well-told tale. Baraka is a keen observer of the outlandish and outrageous in politics and human behavior. Fans and newcomers alike will appreciate Baraka's breadth of political perspective and passion for storytelling. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books; First Edition edition (December 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933354127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933354125
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,695,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By M. P. McKinney on February 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Amiri Baraka's Tales of the Out & the Gone definitely made this reader pause and ponder various concepts presented in the book. This collection of short stories and poems, some previously released, are `Out' (of the ordinary) and `Gone' (crazier, wilder, deeper and way out). The stories cover everything from corrupt politicians to rhythm travel: being able to travel wherever and whenever a song is played.

Amiri Baraka is a true literary genius. His manipulation of language and grammar is truly unique. His style and brilliance may serve as a hindrance for many readers in search of a straightforward story. Tales of the Out & the Gone will appeal to true Baraka fans; however, readers of mainstream lit may feel a bit lost with this read. As Baraka states in the story `A Little Inf'; "If this is hard to understand, I can understand."

Reviewed by M. P. McKinney
APOOO BookClub
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