GIVEADAMN BROWN by Robert Deane Pharr


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Giveadamn Brown resembles Pharr's widely acclaimed first novel, The Book of Numbers, in that it's also about an operation, a scheme, the making of money--illegally. Unlike Numbers, however, it reduces the theme of Big Black Money to the grotesque and comic. Giveadamn is a black who comes to Harlem with nothing but his nickname. Shacking up with a stiletto-wielding ex-junkie gets him hip to the street scene; and through his long-lost father, Harry, king of narco traffic, he enters the high world of million dollar cash bails. ""Anyone who wanted to survive and be on top of the pile had better hurry up and get as crazy as everyone else. Hadn't both Nixon and Agnew proved it?"" And here in Harlem dope is the only way to survive. Hustling on 112th St. are the fools: addicts. Lounging in East River penthouses, in Riverdale retreats, are the maniacs: the big dealers. Giveadamn becomes heir to Harry's empire just when the competition decides to flip out, throwing him into contact with Doll Baby, a 300-lb. drag-queen boss, Studs, the man-chewing boss bitch, a miracle curing machine, a Mercedes, a Rolls-Royce, and subway violence. In the narrow world we're shown here, there is, in fact, nothing but violence; folks wasted and blown away on every other page. Since he gives us actions instead of characters, Pharr's view of human relations has, apparently, changed. Crime and paranoia, this time around, are just aspects of a flat and grisly entertainment.

Pub Date: March 17th, 1978
ISBN: 0393315398
Publisher: Doubleday