About the time my first volume of poetry was published (Big Bank Take Little Bank, 1991), I was just trying to keep my head down and improve. In the mid-nineties a cat named Henning Gutmann asked me to write an essay for an anthology of Generation Z writing called Next. I penned “What Set You From, Fool?” an essay that changed how I thought about my writing. It crystallized my voice and sensibilities, and convinced me that one could do anything on the page, and that there was a decent chance that the novel swirling in my head and on five years-worth of shards of paper stuffed into a size 13 Adidas shoebox might actually make some sense. Then I wrote The White Boy Shuffle.
THE WHITE BOY SHUFFLE is an impressive first serve. If it is representative of the pace Paul Beatty will maintain in the future, I will be obligated to upgrade my cognitive abilities to stay in the game.
The White Boy Shuffle
Snippet view - 1996
"A bombastic coming-of-age novel . . . "The White Boy Shuffle" has the uncanny ability to make readers want to laugh and cry at the same time. Beatty mingles horrific reality with wild fancy without ever losing a grip on his story."--"Los Angeles Times" ""The White Boy Shuffle" is one of those novels of enormous energy and verbal dazzle . . . Mr. Beatty is a fertile and original writer, one to watch."--"The New York Times" "Laugh-out-loud funny and weep-in-silence sad . . . The language is always vibrant and alluring."--"The Nation" "Ferocious and funny and also streetwise."--"The Boston Globe"
Paul Beatty is the author of the novels Slumberland, Tuff, and The White Boy Shuffle, and two books of poetry, Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce. He is the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor. He lives in New York City.