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Look for Me and I'll Be Gone Summary and Reviews

Look for Me and I'll Be Gone

Stories

by John Edgar Wideman

Look for Me and I'll Be Gone by John Edgar Wideman X
Look for Me and I'll Be Gone by John Edgar Wideman
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  • Published Nov 2021
    336 pages
    Genre: Short Stories

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Book Summary

From John Edgar Wideman, "a master [who] boldly subverts what a short story can be" (Publishers Weekly) comes a stunning story collection that spans a range of topics from Michael Jordan to Emmett Till, from childhood memories to the final day in a prison cell.

Forty years after John Edgar Wideman's first collection of stories was published, he continues to produce new stories of the highest caliber and relevancy. Here, in his sixth story collection, he revisits themes that have infused his work for the duration of his career: family, loss, the penal system, Pittsburgh, physical and emotional life, art, and memory.

Stories include "Separation," which begins with a boy standing alone beside his grandfather's coffin, progressing to a scene with the narrator's grandmother paying the funeral director weekly installments for the price of the casket. "Arizona," which appeared in the New Yorker, is written in the form of a letter to singer Freddie Jackson, whose song "You Are My Lady," enters the story through a car radio—a car that conveys the narrator's son and his lawyers to a prison cell in Arizona. "Atlanta Murders" contemplates James Baldwin's Evidence of Things Not Seen, written about the Atlanta child murders from 1979 to 1981, beginning with a riff on a "why-did-the chicken-cross-the-road" joke that takes a dark turn.

Never satisfied to simply tell a story—with writing that is "layered and interwoven…understanding that perspective is various, varied" (The New Statesman)—Wideman continues to push form, with stories within stories, sentences that rise like a jazz solo with every connecting clause, voices that reflect who he is and where he's from, and an exploration of time that entangles past and present. Whether historical or contemporary, intimate or expansive, the stories here represent the most recent work of a treasured American writer whose innovation, imagination, and intellect "prove his continued vitality…with vigor and soul" (Entertainment Weekly).

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Two-time PEN/Faulkner winner Wideman's bold latest resonates with themes of racial identity, incarceration, poverty, and history...Wideman's memorable collection reinforces his reputation as a witty and provocative social observer and raconteur who challenges stereotypes and creatively reaffirms the realities of Black American life." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Philosophical, ruminative, and alive with wordplay...In each story, Wideman illustrates just how intricately the past is interwoven with the present, and there is plenty here to satisfy fans of captivating literary storytelling." - Booklist (starred review)

This information about Look for Me and I'll Be Gone 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

John Edgar Wideman Author Biography

Photo: Geoffrey A. Landis

John Edgar Wideman's books include American Histories, Writing to Save a Life, Philadelphia Fire, Brothers and Keepers, Fatheralong, Hoop Dreams, and Sent for You Yesterday. He is a MacArthur Fellow, has won the PEN/Faulkner Award twice, and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and National Book Award. He divides his time between New York and France.

Name Pronunciation
John Edgar Wideman: WIDE-mehn. Second syllable is pronounced as names ending in "man" typically are.

Other books by John Edgar Wideman at BookBrowse
  • American Histories jacket
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