The African-American Novel and You
Novels relating the African American experience have played a huge role in popular culture. But the role they have played in our own personal consciousness is equally enormous. Facts learned in an educational setting tend to be impersonal and, while perhaps interesting, fail to leave a lasting impression. A novel, on the other hand, can reach out and grab you by the throat, or the guts.
Even if it’s fictionalized, a story about someone else’s life experiences can evoke emotions and reactions that you may not be prepared for. If that someone else is a different race, or living in a different time, the experience is often eye-opening and sometimes upsetting. And if that’s the case, then a): the author did a great job and b): that book is likely to become (or already is) a classic in its genre. A book may deal with uncomfortable truths, and may make you squirm. But the strongest books, with the most lasting influences, will leave you outraged, horrified, devastated and sometimes speechless.
Maplewood Library’s Amanda Eigen will be delving into some of these extraordinary books in her interactive discussion of Black Fiction. Some will be familiar, others may be new to you, but their unifying factor is that all have left their mark: on culture, on the literary world, but most significantly on the reader.
The discussion will be held at Hilton Branch Library on Thursday, February 23 at 6:30 pm. The program is free and open to the public.