Jennifer Robinson of our Amherstview Branch recently enjoyed reading Deacon King Kong by James McBride, a book the New York Times has described as "a supercharged urban farce lit up by thunderbolts of rage." Here is her review:

This richly layered #ownvoices novel features a memorable cast of quirky characters whose vitality takes centre stage. As the saying goes, there is never a dull moment. This moving portrait of place and people reveals a gritty yet joyous ensemble living in a late sixties Brooklyn beset with drug deals, mob moves, church gossip, and cop investigation.

The heart of the story involves the shooting of a drug dealer by a drunk deacon. While this act initially rings like a modern headline with all its attendant stereotypes, the reader discovers that the neighbourhood’s lifeblood beats to its own rhythm.

Each character’s story deepens the others and culminates in a tumultuous swirl of events that stamps the reader’s consciousness with waves of fun, sharpness, and surprise as a study of love and faith amid violence and poverty.

Perhaps the best recommendation I can make is that I plan to read more by this well-deserved recipient of a National Humanities Medal from President Obama who once remarked that McBride demonstrates an uncanny ability to “humaniz[e] the complexities of discussing race.”

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