DUKE by Hal Ellson


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A hard, fast, tough, tight-fisted novel about a Negro adolescent named Duke. A severe delinquent, his life revolves around an insidious cycle; he leads a butcherous Harlem gang that call themselves ""the Mighty Counts"", delivers marijuana and dope, and opens up two houses of prostitution. In the interim, Duke begins to develop schizophrenic tendencies, vague feelings of guilt, and castration fears. Imaginary voices and footsteps follow him up empty streets, a crack in the wall of his bedroom insistently becomes the face of a white girl whom he once loved, the world becomes less and less real, and he withdraws from it by drinking and smocking marijuana...This is straight reportorial writing, done in the clenched- teeth-curled-lip tradition with clipped sentences and endless use of slang. For strong stomachs and those who like their reading terse and breathless.

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 1949
Publisher: Scribner