*A Wall Street Journal Top 10 Best Book of the Year*
From John Edgar Wideman, a modern "master of language" (The New York Times Book Review), comes a stunning story collection that spans a range of topics from Michael Jordan to Emmett Till, from childhood memories to the final day in a prison cell. In Look For Me and I'll Be Gone, his sixth collection of stories, John Edgar Wideman imbues with energy and life the concerns that have consistently infused his fiction and nonfiction. How does it feel to grow up in America, a nation that—despite knowing better, despite its own laws, despite experiencing for hundreds of years the deadly perils and heartbreak of racial division—encourages (sometimes unwittingly, but often on purpose) its citizens to see themselves as colored or white, as inferior or superior.
Never content merely to tell a story, Wideman seeks once again to create language that delivers passages like jazz solos, and virtuosic manipulations of time to entangle past and present. The story "Separation" begins with a boy afraid to stand alone beside his grandfather's coffin, then wends its way back and forth from Pittsburgh to ancient Sumer. "Atlanta Murders" starts with two chickens crossing a road and becomes a dark riff, contemplating "Evidence of Things Not Seen," James Baldwin's report on the 1979–1981 child murders in Atlanta, Georgia.
Comprised of fictions of the highest caliber and relevancy by a writer whose imagination and intellect "prove his continued vitality...with vigor and soul" (Entertainment Weekly), Look For Me and I'll Be Gone will entrance and surprise committed Wideman fans and newcomers alike.