Tuesday, November 27, 2007

just finished: Mr. Commitment

This book was nothing that Nick Hornby didn't do better -- and is there anything sadder than reading a book narrated by a stand-up comedian and knowing you would find his act almost completely unfunny? - but I did find it fascinating in one regard. The author is black, and there are a few tiny clues that the main character is probably black too, but the book is written completely colorblind. Unless there are clues in the Britishisms that escape me, you would never know it was written by a black writer. That's not something you see very often in books written by black Americans.

I'm really curious as to whether that is genuinely Gayle's life -- he feels and is seen as just British, not black-and-British -- or whether that was a very deliberate choice on his part to project a better world, ala Boy Meets Boy. The utter thoroughness of the lack of physical descriptions seems deliberate. I didn't find anything about it on his website though, and none of the reviews I've seen mention race, not even the one on a "black issues" website.

Oh wait, I just found this profile, which makes it sound like the choice is both deliberate and a reflection of how Gayle perceives the world.