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Only the Strong: Book summary and reviews of Only the Strong by Jabari Asim

Only the Strong

by Jabari Asim

Only the Strong by Jabari Asim X
Only the Strong by Jabari Asim
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Book Summary

Jabari Asim's debut novel returns readers to Gateway City, the fictional Midwestern city first explored in his acclaimed short story collection, Taste of Honey. Against a 1970s backdrop of rapid social and political change, Only the Strong portrays the challenges and rewards of love in a quintessential American community where heartbreak and violence are seldom far away.

Moved by the death of Martin Luther King Jr., Lorenzo "Guts" Tolliver decides to abandon his career as a professional leg-breaker and pursue a life of quiet moments and generous helpings of banana pudding in the company of his new, sensuous lover.

His erstwhile boss, local kingpin Ananias Goode, is also thinking about slowing down - but his tempestuous affair with Dr. Artinces Noel, a prominent pediatrician, complicates his retirement plans. Meanwhile, Charlotte Divine, the doctor's headstrong protégée, struggles with trials of her own.

With prose that's sharp, humorous, and poetic, Asim skillfully renders a compelling portrait of urban life in the wake of the last major civil-rights bill. Massive change is afoot in America, and these characters have front-row seats.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"As much as I loved the idea of reading about the era of my teenaged years (the 70s), sadly, Only The Strong never pulled me in and I gave up about half way through. In addition, it broke one of my cardinal rules for historical fiction. That is, if a story about the past is being told in the present tense, do not tell me something about one of the characters (real or fictional) that is going to happen to them in the future! If the story is being told in retrospect, that's fine. But if you're in the past, stay in the past." - BookBrowse, Davida Chazan

"Starred Review. You will rarely find a historical novel that's as panoramic yet also as lean, mean, and moving as this." - Kirkus

This information about Only the Strong was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Jabari Asim Author Biography

Jabari Asim is a writer and multidisciplinary artist, who has been described as one of the most influential African American literary critics of his generation. Asim is the Elma Lewis Distinguished Fellow in Social Justice and Associate Professor at Emerson College. He is both the Graduate Program Director of the MFA Program in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing, and the Program Director for the James Baldwin Writers Colony.

His nonfiction books include The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't, and Why; What Obama Means: For Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future; Not Guilty: Twelve Black Men Speak Out on Law, Justice, and Life; and We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival. His books for children include Whose Toes Are Those? and Preaching...

... Full Biography
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