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Stanley Crouch's gloriously bold first novel provides an intimate and epic portrait of America that breaks all the rules in crossing the boundaries of race, sex, and class.
Blonde Carla from South Dakota is a jazz singer who has been around the block. Almost suddenly, she finds herself fighting to hold on to Maxwell, a black tenor saxophonist from Texas. Their red-hot and sublimely tender five-year union is under siege. Those black people who oppose such relatonships in the interest of romantic entitlement or group solidarity are pressuring Maxwell, and he is wavering. As Carla battles to save the deepest love of her life, her past plays out against the present, vividly bringing forth a startlingly fresh range of characters in scenes that are as accurately drawn as they are unpredictable and innovatively conceived.
“Stanley Crouch’s first novel, audacious and outrageous, is worthy of the bold iconoclast we know from his essays.” —Harold Bloom
“Fearless and exquisitely lyrical. . . . Some of the most heady, passionate, soulful, high-flying, blues-tinged prose this side of Leon Forrest. . . . It radiates the joy of doing battle for love and music . . . [and] captures the gravity-defying lift of romance more majestically than one previously believed the English language allowed.” —Chicago Tribune
“Like the modernist masters with whom he is in dialogue—Charles Baudelaire, Ralph Ellison, James Joyce, and Charlie Parker, to name but a few—Stanley Crouch has given us an exquisite meditation on Western aesthetics, the artist’s vocation and the sensual pulse of urban life. . . . In Carla, one of the most original characters in contemporary literature, this complex novel gives us the portrait of an artist and a lady who quietly challenges us to rethink the meaning of love.” —Farah J. Griffin, Columbia University