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  • The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger
  • Written by Cecil Brown
    Introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9781583942109
  • Our Price: $15.95
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The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger

Written by Cecil BrownAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Cecil Brown
Introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.Author Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents

Synopsis

“If you're black you don't need to get at anything. You're already there. You can live right out of your insides.” So says the antihero of this legendary novel that reimagines the Bible’s prodigal son as a young black man in post-Civil Rights-era America. George Washington—one of his many aliases—is a classic trickster figure, a blend of con artist, deep thinker, and willing object of white women’s sexual fantasies. Fed up with life in racist America, he leaves his rural South for Denmark on a curious quest, determined to discover if there is “any mother fucker in this despiteful world who ever told himself the truth.” In Denmark he spends his days bantering with fellow black expatriates and his nights bedding a series of white women who project their desires on him. Inevitably, these worlds collide, with Washington, aka Anthony Miller, aka Paul Winthrop, aka Mr. Jiveass Nigger, increasingly alienated in a world of opportunists. A return to America after his self-imposed exile promises transformation, but is Washington too far gone? Cecil Brown brings blistering prose, unabashed eroticism, and biting satire to this controversial masterpiece that’s as timely today as when it was first published.

Excerpt

FROM THE TALE

ONE

The Strøget, Copenhagen’s Fifth Avenue, must be, during the summer months, one of the finest streets in the world. No cars are permitted on this street, which means one can interweave freely, provided he is careful not to step on one of the hundreds of street artists whose nearly bad drawings always draw coins from the patronizing tourists; but the natives here are as much tourists as anyone else. A shop girl on her way home never resists the pleasure of becoming a part of the flow of people moving up and down this wondrous street. Almost every kind of person can be seen strolling here, almost every kind of fashion can be seen in the shop windows. Window shopping is highly cultivated here, the art of window display is practiced with great pain, and the displays change often enough to make a stroll down the Stroget worthwhile at least once a day. This street caries the distinctive flavor of the city itself: quiet, relaxed, private and yet not anonymous, gray but not pale or drab; it is a subtle city almost to the point of being coy. A young English student with a thin beard stands holding hands with his Danish girlfriend as they both study a window advertising the works of some glass blower; an African prince attired in a gray pinstriped double-breasted suit and black leather gloves pushes a baby carriage alongside his blond-haired Danish wife. The city, of course, is chock full of impostors, but there is no necessity on anybody’s part to expose such people. Quite to the contrary, the city, the spirit of the city, seems to offer them protection, which is why almost all people here seem as though in exile.

On this particular day it had been raining all morning intermittently, and around one the pale blue sky burst into yellow sunlight. The cobblestone street had been washed clean by the rain and was now a deep red and gave off a strong smell of freshness and earth. People were moving about quickly, the tourists were out with their cameras again, and young, European-style hippies resumed their task of earning a living by drawing Chagalls in the street.

If, in heading toward Kongens Nytorv down the Strøget, one happens to turn right on a certain street, one will find oneself, after some few blocks, face-to-face with a restaurant called the Drop Inn. The Drop Inn is the place you go to meet the “intellectual” bloods. The other place where you can find black people is the Cassanova, which is usually filled with servicemen. One could say that the Drop Inn comes close to being the Big House and Cassanova has the smell of the slave quarters, but, really, such a distinction is misleading because brothers kept a very heavy traffic going from one to the other.

It is three in the afternoon and we find our hero sitting in the Drop Inn hovering over an empty beer mug. He is sitting with some “friends,” five in number.…

Table of Contents

Introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. ix
Preface to the 2008 Edition xx
Prologue: A Prismatic Account of Some Important Matters 3
1 The Spirit of the Father
2 A Brief History
The Tale 17
Epilogue: An Epiphanic Conclusion of Some Important Matters 211
Praise

Praise

“This is a book that turns you on; it tells you how it feels to be a young, black male American in a permissive society of white women.”
—Chester Himes, author of If He Hollers, Let Him Go

“Flimflamboyantly erotic ... audacious ... dramatic ... Mr. Brown is a born pornographer gone straight.”
The New York Times

“Brown's best-selling The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger, published in 1969, [is] a picaresque novel ˆ la Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, infused with a Black Power sensibility.”
—Scott McLemee

  • The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger by Cecil Brown
  • July 29, 2008
  • Fiction - Urban Life; Fiction - Literary
  • Frog Books
  • $15.95
  • 9781583942109

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