GO DOWN DEAD by Shane Stevens


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One thing about living here in Harlem you know it can't get no worse. Least if you in a prison they feed you and you know why you is there and what spose to happen to you. But round here nobody give a dam. Everybody too busy hustling for themselfs."" And the biggest hustler on this scene is the author who has done up the entire book as a sixteen year old high school dropout's narration. Question: if it is supposed to be narration, why the deliberate misspellings? Evidently it is supposed to assure whitey, or anyone who hasn't been to Harlem lately that this is the way it really is, from the gang bangs going on in the school room closet during class to a number of new variations of sex and sadism which accompany the inevitable gang warfare. And in what seems to be becoming standard procedure, there is the sidetrip to nasty Greenwich Village where black and white get beat going gay. Actually all hero ""King Henry,"" ""The Man,"" top cat of ""The Playboys"" really wants to do is get enough ""firepower"" (dynamite) to blow up the white bopping gang, ""The Tigers."" To earn bread for the sticks he exhibits his sexual prowess in stag films and learns to deal in dope. Finally, after tentative parries (involving some unspeakable brutality) by both sides, the day of the rumble downs with much death and few regrets... ""I is a four time loser that what I is. No money and no friends and no edgecation and I is a black nigguh bastud. That just what I is and I is proud of it...A man got no time to be sorry."" We're sorry that this isn't more than hyperbole cliche.

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1966
Publisher: Morrow