TRIBAL JUSTICE by Clark Blaise


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More of Clark Blaise's North American Education (1973) where the same child-boy-man whatever the name (you suspect it's Clark Blaise) commutes between Florida citrus cracker land (a town called Hartley for the most part) and Montreal--the former narrow, pious, superstitious and segregated, the latter ""insidious . . . in its simplicity"" but also streaked with dusty, stubborn poverty. Most of the stories suggest by implication; in the Southern ones the minorities (be they Negroes or niggers or blacks or Jews or Seminoles) figure prominently in the day to day existence of this youngster; events are occasional--a hurricane--and there are a few Characters--his Uncle Etienne who arrives from postwar France and is essentially a boulevardier-bum who makes it big; or black Big Mama, 92, whose history is vaguely filled in from ""parents unknown"" to ""Issue suspected, unknown."" The longest, strongest piece is ""The March"" where still the same uncommitted young man facing the ""false alternatives of school or service"" finally admits to his future with a girl, now down in Selma, after he has drifted here and there and back to Montreal which finally takes on sharper outlines in ""Among the Dead""--the time is now and ""We're a resistant race, when not transfiguring."" These sometimes loosely structured pieces have absolutely no side and little staying power but they do encroach in an unassertive fashion and highlight the author's genuine sincerity.

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 1974
Publisher: Doubleday