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This unique and compelling novel deserves a place of prominence in American literature. Completed in 1963, read and widely admired in manuscript by a network of expatriate American artists strung across Europe, it was never published during Vincent Carter’s lifetime. In 2003, Steerforth Press published the text in its entirety, knowing the book needed editing but committed to publishing a definitive hardcover edition of the work as Carter had left it. This first paperback edition has undergone substantial cutting. The writing remains Carter’s, and judicious pruning has given the story more immediacy, made it more likely to connect with the wide readership that should be the due of so singular and beautiful a novel.
Set in Kansas City, Missouri, during the Jazz Age of the 1920s and ’30s, Such Sweet Thunder is a majestic evocation of childhood and parental love told through the eyes of a remarkable boy, Amerigo Jones. This vivid portrait of an era marred by racial segregation and relentless, daily injustices is nonetheless rendered with love and longing for a time and place that was enriched by a vibrant, burgeoning, and widely influential African American culture and a fierce feeling for family and community.