CHILDREN OF NIGHT by Edgar White

CHILDREN OF NIGHT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

White and McCannon's previous books about Sati and Omar (both 1973) were uninflected, slight but clearly authentic bits of young black life that seemed to contain more than they said. Children of Night hints more broadly and introduces more obviously loaded material, so that there is no question that White is calling attention to the hunger, roaches, crowding, etc., but some uncertainty as to what is to be made of it all. The glimpses of life in the ""dark city"" (South Bronx) are interspersed with dreams of light, and when it all ends in a street riot, during which Chaka, twelve, steals meat from the supermarket, there is no guidance past Chaka's own confusion when his mother takes the loot but tells him unsmiling, ""Don't you never do that again."" McCannon's childlike drawings express both the dreams and the darkness, but the deliberate distortions don't always fit the message. For example, the introductory scene of three brothers waking up in a bed they must share, instead of looking cramped, shows vast bare unoccupied areas of bed in what might as well (from the suggestive sketch) be a stylish modern bedroom. Thus neither author nor artist quite gets it together, though both words and pictures are expressive, honest and original.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1974
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard