THE WORLD OF CARLOS by William Hairston


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Until he opened his Puerto Rican mouth, he was regarded by the unsuspecting as Just another 'white boy'."" Carlos, visiting his mother in New York City, accidentally pushes a bully down a flight of steps, then runs for fear of being electrocuted for murder. A subway takes him to the Bronx, where he meets Jewish housewives, is wrongly accused of stealing, is invited by a woman into her convertible (her hand on his knee, a pearl-handled revolver in the glove compartment). Frightened, he bolts, takes another subway, this time to 125th and Lenox, where two Negro winos cadge a dime, include him in their tippling: ""These two must have allowed themselves to give up the struggle for their people's advancement, and merely existed in a constant drunken lethargy, a stuporous void, that rendered them unable to participate, in any creditable fashion, in the protests and demonstrations of their dissatisfied brethren."" Then Spanish Harlem and Central Park, an unfriendly Chinese governess, a friendly Irish cop, a police chase along the subway tracks and home, where he sees Juan the bully is not dead but only suffering ahead wound; he attacks Juan again, this time ""with violent frenzy."" The intent to portray the fears of a young Puerto Rican boy is clear, much too clear--social comment alternates with narrative and intrudes upon it, laboriously explaining and proclaiming. A poorly written case study, even worse as fiction.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1967
Publisher: Putnam