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Jim Dandy /
Irvin Faust.
New York : Carroll & Graf Publishers, c1994.
297 p.
0786700629 :
More Details
New York : Carroll & Graf Publishers, c1994.
0786700629 :
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A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1994-05-09:
When, in 1936, African American Harlem numbers-runner Hollis Cleveland double-crosses his wisecracking, cigar-chomping Jewish boss, he knows he's in trouble. So he assumes the alias of ``Jim Dandy'' (the name of a minstrel-show character he played as a boy in South Carolina) and absconds to Ethiopia to join the fight against Mussolini's invading troops. Faust's ( Willy Remembers ) first novel in 14 years is an engrossing, complex exploration of race relations, politics and the search for identity. Though a Canadian war correspondent dubs Hollis ``a sepia Lawrence of Arabia,'' and though Emperor Haile Selassie begs him to continue his brave exploits, Hollis feels a racial divide between himself and the Ethiopians, who maintain that they ``are not Negro.'' Faust has an unerring ear for dialogue and creates memorable characters, such as as African American pilot Maximilian Joseph, a former U.S. Army Air Corps general turned soldier of fortune who flies Hollis around Africa, and Sir Henry Armitage, a wealthy English protofascist crackpot who mistakes Hollis for an Ethiopian prince. Faust interpolates jazzy riffs on colonialism, race and history, and closes symbolically with Hollis, back in New York in 1938, deciding his next move even as heavyweight champ Joe Louis, the ``Brown Bomber,'' knocks out ``beetle-browed Hun'' Max Schmeling. (June)
Appeared in Library Journal on 1994-06-15:
We first meet Hollis Cleveland, a.k.a. Jim Dandy, dancing in his father's minstrel revue in 1915. Fast forward to 1936, and the grown Cleveland is still in show business, college educated, fluent in four foreign languages, and on the run from his boss in a Harlem numbers-running organization. His flight takes him overseas, where he plunges into the turbulent atmosphere of rising fascism, the Spanish Civil War, and Mussolini's attempted grab of Ethiopia. Cleveland's sojourn in Africa and his return to the United States bring up troubling questions of nationalism, race, and identity. This novel of international intrigue by the author of Newsreel (1980) is a historical thriller set in one of the most volatile eras in the 20th century and features the most urbane hero this side of James Bond. Recommended for most fiction collections.-Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, May 1994
Publishers Weekly, May 1994
Library Journal, June 1994
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