Ishmael Reed has been described as cavorting “like a black bull in the china shop of Western culture,” and The Reed Reader is a collection of the sharp, jagged results of his rampage. In it, one of the most renowned African American writers offers a generous sampling of the brilliant and witty satire, the politically charged, wildly imaginative storytelling, and the caustic cultural criticism that have become his trademarks. In these excerpts from his celebrated novels, poems, plays, and essays, Reed displays an ironic wit, a cold, keen eye for economic exploitation, a hilarious sense of the absurd, and a slender but persistent optimism for the determined souls who transcend their environment and penetrate illusions by daring acts of will. The Reed Reader is the cumulative representation of an astonishing career, a powerful testament to Reed’s many and enormous literary gifts.
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