Books by John Edgar Wideman

John Edgar Wideman won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1984 for Sent for You Yesterday and in 1990 for Philadelphia Fire. His second memoir, Fatheralong, was a finalist for the National Book Award. His most recent books are Hoop Roots and The Island: Martinique

AMERICAN HISTORIES by John Edgar Wideman
Released: March 20, 2018

"Wideman's recent work strides into the gap between fiction and nonfiction as a means of disclosing hard, painful, and necessary truths."
In 1993, Wideman published a book called All Stories Are True, and this new collection represents both an affirmation of and a challenge to that claim. Read full book review >
WRITING TO SAVE A LIFE by John Edgar Wideman
Released: Nov. 15, 2016

"A book seething with the passion and sense of outrage behind the Black Lives Matter movement that also traces specific roots of the movement's genealogy."
The present illuminates the past—but can't provide resolution—in this generation-spanning meditation on injustice. Read full book review >
FANON by John Edgar Wideman
Released: Feb. 7, 2008

"Both those familiar and those unfamiliar with Fanon's work are likely to be bemused by this strange potpourri."
The noted African-American author pays homage to psychiatrist/activist Frantz Fanon, best known for his anti-colonial classic The Wretched of the Earth, in this quasi-fictional meditation that incorporates bits of Wideman's own history. Read full book review >
GOD’S GYM by John Edgar Wideman
Released: Feb. 9, 2005

"A rich display of the varied skills of one of our finest writers."
Fluid structures and tensely contained emotion bulk large in this third collection from the PEN/Faulkner Award winner (Fever, 1989; Philadelphia Fire, 1990; etc.). Read full book review >
HOOP ROOTS by John Edgar Wideman
Released: Oct. 10, 2001

"A creative, rambling blend of memoir, fiction, and essay."
Novelist Wideman (The Cattle Killing, 1996, etc.) uses basketball as a doorway through which to glimpse black manhood. Read full book review >
TWO CITIES by John Edgar Wideman
Released: Sept. 9, 1998

"An angry, moving work from one of the most original, and accomplished, of modern American novelists."
A somber, eloquent meditation on isolation and violence. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 6, 1996

"A perfect place to sample the wide range of current fiction."
Wideman's smart introduction to this annual series challenges the standard criteria for inclusion, and justifies his other departures from convention—he selects 24 stories, not 20, and he knowingly reprints a selection ("In Roseau") from Jamaica Kincaid's recently published novel, The Autobiography of My Mother. Read full book review >
THE CATTLE KILLING by John Edgar Wideman
Released: Oct. 2, 1996

"A dazzling apocalyptic meditation—and a brilliantly imagined portrayal of 18th century America—that nevertheless lacks coherence and presents a web of enigmatic symbolism so thickly woven that many willing readers simply won't know what to make of it."
A complex and challenging new novel from the author of Sent For You Yesterday (1985), Fever (1989), and other rich, provocative examinations of America's heritage of racial injustice. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"Earnest, artful, hopeful, angry, and proud, Wideman's lovely book contains the seeds of promise for a world where black children have a rich wellspring of history to draw from, and where there's 'enough love for everybody.'"
Six discursive, stirring autobiographical essays wrestle with the social definitions foisted on the author as a black man and situate him within his own personal experiences and the collective history of his kin. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1992

"Read chronologically, these stories chart Wideman's growth as a storyteller He's willing to take risks, and most often succeeds triumphantly."
This hefty collection reprints Wideman's previous volumes of stories, Fever (1989) and Damballah (1981)—which are also being reprinted this year by the University of Pittsburgh Press as part of a single hardback edition of Wideman's "Homewood Books"—and also includes ten new pieces. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1990

"With its dark and cynical humor, this metafiction will disturb as many readers as it dazzles."
Wideman's latest novel picks up where the title story in last year's Fever left off—it's a dense and rage-filled meditation on the bombing of a houseful of blacks in West Philadelphia in 1985. Read full book review >
REUBEN by John Edgar Wideman
Released: Oct. 30, 1987

"Otherwise, a truly luminous creation."
Full of dazzling set pieces and flights of urban fancy, Wideman's first novel since his award-winning Sent For You Yesterday never quite coheres—it's a sprawling meditation on "the evil men do to their fellow men," and what holds it (tenuously) together is the "tired old Uncle Remus man" celebrated in the title. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1985

"Others will lament that it is not a new book at all, but Faulkner again, sprung into life half a century later, and talky."
Winner of the PEN Faulkner Award for 1984 when printed as a mass market paperback by Avon, this novel reappears now in hard covers from England. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 29, 1984

"A frustrating book, then—with a powerful initial grab, some of the virtues of fiction (texture and emotion), but only sporadic flickers of drama and insight amid the narrative convolutions."
Since 1975, when his younger brother Robby was arrested (and later jailed) for armed robbery and murder, professor/novelist Wideman (Hurry Home, The Lynchers) has been wrestling with this situation—as a family tragedy, as a sociological puzzle, as a personal torment, as material for his fiction. Read full book review >
THE LYNCHERS by John Edgar Wideman
Released: April 25, 1973

"A clever idea run aground."
This novel about four black men's plan to lynch a white cop in blackface disintegrates as do its peculiarly unsympathetic protagonists — Wilkerson the intellectual; crazy silent janitor Rice; Saunders the mug; and the crippled Littleman who dreamed up this symbolic riposte to the Klansmen who made burning and hanging Negroes an American form of art. Read full book review >
HURRY HOME by John Edgar Wideman
Released: March 25, 1970

"It deserves to find more than one home."
If you can, that is. Read full book review >
A GLANCE AWAY by John Edgar Wideman
Released: Aug. 30, 1967

"Experience painfully, painstakingly rendered."
This book, toughly tender, does a smarting job of dramatizing the confrontation between two of life's drop-outs, an aging, pathetic homosexual and a despairing Negro junkie. Read full book review >