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If He Hollers Let Him Go (Serpent's Tail Classics) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Here starts a wild journey into Bob's soul, while he interrogates himself about what being a black man means in a white, segregated world, and what future there could ever be - what future of fulfilment there could ever be - for a man in his position.
The story is told in the first person by Bob and it's mindblowing. Himes takes you into Bob's heart of hearts and let you into his deepest, more secret thoughts and feelings. Into his most secrets fears, his most unspeakable of hopes, into his deepest frustrations. There had been moments I had to remind myself: "You are not Bob Jones", so deep the identification was. I really thought with him, felt with him, got angry with him, grabbed and lost hopes with him. It's like walking all the way right beside him.
Himes is a master of dialogue. I've always liked his strong grip on people's way of speaking of themselves in the sheer way they speak of anything. Sometimes it's more like listening to his characters than read them.
I've rarely read such an involving story. I enjoyed it a lot.
This is the latest in the Serpent's Tail Classics series. Each book is given a brief new, modern introduction, in this case by Jake Arnott and this is particularly helpful in placing the book into context. This adds much to the reading of the book.
Arnott explains that the author Himes had certain elements in common with his main character. Both escaped from Cleveland attracted by the apparently more racially integrated offerings of California. In Himes' case, this initially went well as he gained a writing job with Warner Brothers only to be crassly dismissed by Jack Warner on purely racial grounds. He went to work in the shipyards where recent events in Pearl Harbour meant that employers couldn't be too fussy about the colour of your skin due to the volumes of work. It's not surprising that Himes would be angry with this outcome. And if there's one thing that his main character, Robert Jones, is it would be angry.
It's easy to forget how very different life was for African Americans just a few decades ago, even outside of the South. And there's no doubt that much of Jones' anger is due to the circumstances in which he finds himself, but while we might want to have an intrinsic sympathy with his plight, he doesn't always make it easy for the reader to take his side.
In fact, Jones has it relatively good.Read more ›