Floating in a Most Peculiar Way Summary and Reviews

Floating in a Most Peculiar Way

by Louis Chude-Sokei

Floating in a Most Peculiar Way by Louis Chude-Sokei X
Floating in a Most Peculiar Way by Louis Chude-Sokei
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2021
    240 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

The astonishing journey of a bright, utterly displaced boy, from the short-lived African nation of Biafra, to Jamaica, to the harshest streets of Los Angeles - a searing memoir that adds fascinating depth to the coming-to-America story

The first time Chude-Sokei realizes that he is "first son of the first son" of a renowned leader of the bygone African nation is in Uncle Daddy and Big Auntie's strict religious household in Jamaica, where he lives with other abandoned children. A visiting African has just fallen to his knees to shake him by the shoulders: "Is this the boy? Is this him?"

Chude-Sokei's immersion in the politics of race and belonging across the landscape of the African diaspora takes a turn when his traumatized mother, who has her own extraordinary history as the onetime "Jackie O of Biafra," finally sends for him to come live with her. In Inglewood, Los Angeles, on the eve of gangsta rap and the LA riots, it's as if he's fallen to Earth. In this world, anything alien—definitely Chude-Sokei's secret obsession with science fiction and David Bowie—is a danger, and his yearning to become a Black American gets deeply, sometimes absurdly, complicated. Ultimately, it is a boisterous pan-African family of honorary aunts, uncles, and cousins that becomes his secret society, teaching him the redemptive skill of navigating not just Blackness, but Blacknesses, in his America.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A distinguished literary scholar delivers an affecting memoir of life as an exile, with a David Bowie soundtrack in the background...deftly profound...A beautifully written contribution to recent work of the African diaspora." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[A] beautiful, plainspoken work in which Chude-Sokei concludes that the cacophonous diaspora he comes from is his actual culture. This hard-to-put-down memoir both enlightens and inspires." - Publishers Weekly

"Absorbing...highly recommended for all memoir readers." - Booklist

"Stupendous doesn't even begin to describe the extraordinary power and exhilarating beauty of Floating in a Most Peculiar Way. Here is a memoir that blazes like a star and rhymes like Paul Beatty at his best. Louis Chude-Sokei is a writer with all the gifts and then some." - Junot Diaz, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and of This Is How You Lose Her

"Chude-Sokei's Floating in a Most Peculiar Way is a rich, immersive coming-of-age tale from a man of eccentric, transnational upbringing. Chude-Sokei's honest and eloquent writing ultimately transforms his memoir into a superlative and unforgettable book." - Chigozie Obioma, author of The Fishermen and An Orchestra of Minorities (both finalist for the Booker prize)

"This is autobiography at its best. In stories of the multiple blended accents, atrocities, musics, prejudices and foods of London, Biafra, Jamaica, D.C., South Central L.A. and elsewhere, Chude-Sokei confronts the nightmare of history—along with the persistent, sometimes joyful adventure of awakening from it." - Robert Pinsky, Poet Laureate of the United States, 1997-2000

This information about Floating in a Most Peculiar Way shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, 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 the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Louis Chude-Sokei

Louis Chude-Sokei is a writer, scholar, and director of the African American studies program at Boston University. His writing on the African diaspora and other topics has appeared in national and international venues. He lives in Boston.

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