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Welcome to Braggsville
by T. Geronimo Johnson


Overview -

Organic, plucky, smart . . . the funniest sendup of identity politics, the academy and white racial anxiety to hit the scene in years. New York Times Book Review

Welcome to Braggsville. The City That Love Built in the Heart of Georgia. Population 712.  Read more...


 
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More About Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson
 
 
 
Overview

Organic, plucky, smart . . . the funniest sendup of identity politics, the academy and white racial anxiety to hit the scene in years. New York Times Book Review

Welcome to Braggsville. The City That Love Built in the Heart of Georgia. Population 712.

Born and raised in the heart of old Dixie, D aron Davenport finds himself in unfamiliar territory his freshman year at UC Berkeley. Caught between the prosaic values of his rural hometown and the intellectualized multicultural cosmopolitanism of Berzerkeley, the nineteen-year-old white kid is uncertain about his place, until one disastrous party brings him three idiosyncratic best friends: Louis, a kung fu comedian from California; Candice, an earnest do-gooder from Iowa claiming Native roots; and Charlie, an introspective inner-city black teen from Chicago. They dub themselves the 4 Little Indians.

But everything changes in the group s alternative history class, when D aron lets slip that his hometown hosts an annual Civil War reenactment, recently rebranded Patriot Days. His announcement is met with righteous indignation and inspires Candice to suggest a performative intervention to protest the reenactment. Armed with youthful self-importance, makeshift slave costumes, righteous zeal, and their own misguided ideas about the South, the 4 Little Indians descend on Braggsville. Their journey through backwoods churches, backroom politics, Waffle Houses, and drunken family barbecues is uproarious at first but has devastating consequences.

A literary coming-of-age novel for a new generation, Welcome to Braggsville reminds us of the promise and perils of youthful exuberance, while painting an indelible portrait of contemporary America.

Audacious, unpredictable, exuberant . . . reads like a literary hybrid of David Foster Wallace and Colson Whitehead. David Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Review"

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062302120
  • ISBN-10: 0062302124
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company
  • Publish Date: February 2015
  • Page Count: 384
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > African American - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-10-27
  • Reviewer: Staff

In his second novel, Johnson (Hold It ’Til It Hurts) delivers a funny and tragic coming-of-age story that spares no one its satirical eye. D’aron Little May Davenport, a misfit in his small Georgia town, enrolls at UC Berkeley to get as far away from home as he can. His new roommate, Louis Chang, is an irrepressible fellow completely at home in California, whose fearless determination to be a stand-up comedian offers a “refreshing antidote to the somber, tense mood sweeping campus.” Soon they meet Candice, a pretty white Iowan with hair that “glowed like butter on burned toast,” and Charlie, a black prep school kid, while they are all being scolded for supposed insensitivity at a dorm party. They quickly become close and call themselves the “4 Little Indians.” When D’aron mentions that Braggsville has an annual Civil War reenactment in their American history class, Candice and Louis persuade the group to stage a “performative intervention” over spring break. This is D’aron’s story, told from his perspective, but there’s a secondary voice, an impish interloper, challenging D’aron and the reader to delve deeper, asking again and again, “Por qué?” Johnson’s prose has a sketched-out and dreamlike quality, a private shorthand that adds to the feeling of intimacy, an apt trick when dealing with subject matter like race and class. This ambitious novel stumbles when it departs from its central story, which should be enough: young people clumsily wielding their new tools of critical theory to impress themselves and each other, without fully understanding the effects of their actions. (Feb.)

 
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