William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

The Conjure-Man Dies

Rudolph Fisher’s The Conjure-Man Dies is an interesting, entertaining, beautifully and concisely written detective novel set in 1930s Harlem. It’s spiced with psychology and suspense, humor, wit, and just the right amount of scientific, philosophical, and medical knowledge. Like his main character and sleuth, Dr. John Archer, it’s clear that Fisher — a physician himself in addition to being a gifted student and musician — was no mean observer. His streets are alive with detail, and he renders the local dialect in all its descriptive wealth and variety as only a musician with a poet’s ear could. In Conjure-Man, there is no race problem. So-called White America is a voice on the wind that dies nameless in the alleys — Fisher’s novel is that comfortable in its skin. There is nothing to prove, nothing to overcome, nothing to defend. The reader is left only with spirited, intelligent writing — a fine antidote for whatever his burden may be.

November 20, 2020

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Categories: New Poems & Pieces

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