I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everett
A Novel

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Synopsis

I Am Not Sidney Poitier is an irresistible comic novel from the master storyteller Percival Everett, and an irreverent take on race, class, and identity in America

I was, in life, to be a gambler, a risk-taker, a swashbuckler, a knight. I accepted, then and there, my place in the world. I was a fighter of windmills. I was a chaser of whales. I was Not Sidney Poitier.

Not Sidney Poitier is an amiable young man in an absurd country. The sudden death of his mother orphans him at age eleven, leaving him with an unfortunate name, an uncanny resemblance to the famous actor, and, perhaps more fortunate, a staggering number of shares in the Turner Broadcasting Corporation.

Percival Everett’s hilarious new novel follows Not Sidney’s tumultuous life, as the social hierarchy scrambles to balance his skin color with his fabulous wealth. Maturing under the less-than watchful eye of his adopted foster father, Ted Turner, Not gets arrested in rural Georgia for driving while black, sparks a dinnertable explosion at the home of his manipulative girlfriend, and sleuths a murder case in Smut Eye, Alabama, all while navigating the recurrent communication problem: “What’s your name?” a kid would ask. “Not Sidney,” I would say. “Okay, then what is it?”

 

About Percival Everett

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Percival Everett is the Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California and the author of more than twenty books, including Assumption, Erasure, I Am Not Sidney Poitier, The Water Cure, Wounded, and Glyph; three collections of short fiction; and one book of poetry. He is the recipient of the Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the 2006 PEN Center USA Award for Fiction. He lives on his ranch in the mountains outside Los Angeles.
 
Published August 2, 2011 by Graywolf Press. 247 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for I Am Not Sidney Poitier

Kirkus Reviews

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(The standard disclaimer, that “this novel is NOT in any way a depiction of anyone living, dead or imagined by anyone other than the author,” is followed by a rather more unusual corollary: “This qualification applies, equally, to the character whose name is the same as the author’s.”) Turner and...

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London Review of Books

Erasure (2001) was a novel about a black writer, Thelonious ‘Monk’ Ellison, whose own, racially indeterminate novels – modern-day reworkings of Greek myths etc – are invariably filed in the ‘African-American Literature’ sections of America’s chain stores.

Nov 19 2009 | Read Full Review of I Am Not Sidney Poitier: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Maturing under the less-than watchful eye of his adopted foster father, Ted Turner, Not gets arrested in rural Georgia for driving while black, sparks a dinnertable explosion at the home of his manipulative girlfriend, and sleuths a murder case in Smut Eye, Alabama, all while navigating the recur...

Jul 05 2009 | Read Full Review of I Am Not Sidney Poitier: A Novel

Shelf Awareness

Publishers tell the New York Times that the problem of illegal digital copies of print books appearing on the Web "has ballooned in recent months as an expanding appetite for e-books has spawned a bumper crop of pirated editions on Web sites like Scribd and Wattpad, and on file-sharing services l...

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Project MUSE

As we stepped out of the makeshift morgue I thought that if that body in the chest was Not Sidney Poitier, then I was not Not Sidney Poitier and that by all I knew of logic and double negatives, I was therefore Sidney Poitier.

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ReadySteadyBook

The protagonist of Percival Everett’s latest novel, I Am Not Sidney Poitier, is called Not Sidney Poitier.

May 26 2009 | Read Full Review of I Am Not Sidney Poitier: A Novel

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