This historic novel about blackface minstrels explores below the surface. Eric Lott, writing for African American Review, described it as ""A novel of ideas devoted to exploring the complex fate of black and white Americans caught, as ever, in a racial history they can neither surmount nor escape"".
Wesley Brown is author of the novel Tragic Magic, two plays, and coeditor of two multicultural anthologies. He teaches literature and creative writing at Rutgers University.
W. T. Lhamon Jr. is professor of English at Florida State University and author of Raising Cain: Blackface Performance from Jim Crow to Hip Hop.
Darktown Strutters cuts to the cruel center of American racialism. Wesley Brown's traveling minstrel show is where the symbolism of skin color establishes public meaning and private identity the way a funhouse mirror measures height and weight. Like Melville's The Confidence Man, this is a scary book, and mordantly funny, too. We all look ridiculous in it and, sad to say, instantly recognizable.--Russell Banks Anybody who thinks an historical novel about blackface minstrel days is 'merely' historical hasn't been paying attention to Jim Carrey's The Mask, TV's In Living Color, rapper Biz Markie, or much of the rest of U.S. popular culture today.... The legacy of blackface shines all around us, and we've still barely begun to tackle its wiles. This is why Wesley Brown's novel Darktown Strutters, an often profound meditation on performance, masking, identity, and equality in the American skin game, is so welcome and refreshing. Written in the surreal spirit of minstrelsy itself, peppered with wit and lancing dialogue, Darktown Strutters is a novel of ideas devoted to exploring the complex fate of black and white Americans caught, as ever, in a racial history they can neither surmount nor escape.--Eric Lott "African American Review "
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