O, Africa!: Book summary and reviews of O, Africa! by Andrew Lewis Conn

O, Africa!

by Andrew Lewis Conn

O, Africa! by Andrew Lewis Conn X
O, Africa! by Andrew Lewis Conn
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  • Published Jun 2014
    384 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

In the summer of 1928, twin brothers Micah and Izzy Grand are at the pinnacle of their movie-making careers. From their roots as sons of Brooklyn immigrants, they have risen to become kings of silent comedy – with the brash, bloviating Micah directing and calling the shots, while his retreating brother skillfully works behind the lens. But when Micah's penchant for gambling, and his interracial affair with Rose, a sharp-witted, light-skinned black woman from Harlem, combine to threaten his livelihood and his life, he finds himself in need of a quick escape.
 
As the ascent of the talkies looms on the horizon, the brothers' producer offers them an opportunity that couldn't be better timed: travel to Africa to compile stock footage of the exotic locales, as well as filming a new comedy in the jungle. Together with an unlikely crew of producers, stars and hangers-on, the Grands set out for Malwiki, where among the tribesmen they each discover unforeseen truths about themselves, their lovers, and the meaning of the movies.

Moving from the piers of Coney Island to Africa's veld, and further to the glitter of early Hollywood, O, Africa! is an epic tale of self-discovery, the constraints of history and prejudice, and the stubborn resolve of family and friendship in the face of tragedy. 

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A wildly ambitious and entertaining novel that manages to be both slapstick and deeply tragic." – Kirkus

"History aficionados may quibble about the details, but classic film buffs will be enthralled." - Booklist

"Conn falls short of his novel's high ambitions... but his novel's finest moments... demonstrate that Conn can capture the creative chaos of movies with a knowledgeable and resonant voice." - Publishers Weekly

"Andrew Lewis Conn has written a strange, cool, hilarious and oddly moving masterpiece. DeLillo and Bellow have both sunk roots into Conn's prose, but the results are uniquely his own. O Africa! is a thing of wonder." - Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

"Andrew Lewis Conn writes with a daring, vital, great-hearted brilliance. O Africa! moves with the swiftness of light and illuminates our present moment most ingeniously." - Mary-Beth Hughes, author of Double Happiness

"Conn knows what he's talking about, and he writes with a Bellow-esque vigor that cranks the story into flickering, shimmering life." - Paul La Farge, author of Luminous Airplanes

"It's been - actually, don't remind me how many years - since Conn's singularly audacious debut, and though O, Africa! charts an exciting new course, the author remains as he was: besotted by the movies and drunk on words." - Ed Park, author of Personal Days

This information about O, Africa! 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

Andrew Lewis Conn

Andrew Lewis Conn has written essays, short fiction, and reviews for The Believer, Film Comment, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, and the Indiana Review among others and attended writers residencies at Yaddo and Ledig House in Hudson, NY. Conn's previous novel, P, was chosen as a best book of the summer of 2003 by Salon, Time Out New York, The Oregonian, and Nerve; one of the best books of the year by the Village Voice and the Austin Chronicle; and long-listed as "one of the best books of the millennium (so far!)" by The Millions.

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