Fanon by John Edgar Wideman

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A philosopher, psychiatrist, and political activist, Frantz Fanon was a fierce, acute critic of racism and oppression. Born of African descent in Martinique in 1925, Fanon fought in defense of France during World War II but later against France in Algeria’s war for independence. His last book, The Wretched of the Earth, published in 1961, inspired leaders of diverse liberation movements: Steve Biko in South Africa, Che Guevara in Latin America, the Black Panthers in the States. Wideman’s novel is disguised as the project of a contemporary African American novelist,Thomas, who undertakes writing a life of Fanon. The result is an electrifying mix of perspectives, traveling from Manhattan to Paris to Algeria to Pittsburgh. Part whodunit, part screenplay, part love story, Fanon introduces the French film director Jean-Luc Godard to the ailing Mrs. Wideman in Homewood and chases the meaning of Fanon’s legacy through our violent, post-9/11 world, which seems determined to perpetuate the evils Fanon sought to rectify.

About John Edgar Wideman

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John Edgar Wideman is the only author to have won the PEN/Faulkner Award twice—for the novelSent for You Yesterday in 1984, and forPhiladelphia Fire in 1990. He is the recipient of numerous other awards, including the American Book Award, the MacArthur Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. His latest book, the acclaimed memoir,Hoop Roots,was published in 2001. 
Published April 16, 2010 by Mariner Books. 239 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Wideman makes the most direct connection between Fanon and Homewood, the Pittsburgh ghetto where Wideman grew up, when he juxtaposes Fanon’s questioning (in his role as psychiatrist) of two Algerian boys, accused killers, with an imaginary Homewood teenager who in the blink of an eye becomes a mu...

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The New York Times

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It’s no wonder that in the middle section Wideman tries to persuade Godard to make a movie about Fanon by taking the director of “Le Petit Soldat” — a complex protest against the Algerian War — back to Homewood.

Apr 27 2008 | Read Full Review of Fanon

The New York Times

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At one point in John Edgar Wideman’s new novel, the narrator imagines a question posed by his brother about the book (this very book) the narrator is trying to write: “Why Fanon.” The narrator continues: “I’m disappointed when my brother asks the question.

Apr 27 2008 | Read Full Review of Fanon

Publishers Weekly

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Psychiatrist and revolutionary Frantz Fanon (1925–1961) fought to free Algeria from French rule, and wrote several key texts on colonialism, including The Wretched of the Earth .

Sep 03 2007 | Read Full Review of Fanon

Bookmarks Magazine

… In the end, Wideman’s Fanon is not so much about Fanon the man as it is about writing about Fanon, about writing in a world in which revolutionary hopes have soured, about writing, period."

Apr 10 2008 | Read Full Review of Fanon

Project MUSE

This one story—mystifying, paralyzing, uplifting, and liberating—told in the work of John Edgar Wideman at least three times (in the1983 novel Sent for You Yesterday, in the short story, “lizabeth: The Caterpillar Story,” and in his 1998 novel Two Cities), reveals an urgent, barrier-shattering im...

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