More than halfway through, I’m not quite sure how I feel about George Schuyler’s satirical novel, Black No More. It’s certainly not without humor, and not without a large measure of truth. In the clever guise of science fiction, it is, in effect, a witty, sharply drawn editorial cartoon on American race relations. That I find the bitter edge of its caricature unappealing, says as much about me as it does the author. Negativity is not my cup of tea. At the heart of the matter, though, is the fact that Schuyler’s characters are characters; they are puppets on a string. It’s still not too late to charge them with sympathy and change, but that remains to be seen. The story was written with a purpose. As such, it strikes me more as a specimen, than as a work of art. I do not mean to say that art and purpose cannot coexist. Here in western Oregon, where I live, there is a kind of weather I call liquid sunshine, which consists of a bright sunny sky, few or no visible clouds, and an illuminated, illuminating rain. Purpose and art? Apart, they are grand. Together, they make one look again and again.
November 14, 2020
Trick of the light, or a copper rain, ten thousand pennies at a time?
Poems, Slightly Used, April 18, 2009
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