See, the thing about Pym is that it’s all the novels you want to read in one. There’s apocalypse, there’s adventure, there’s the allusions to a literary classic – it’s all there. The narrator, Chris Jaynes, has a voice that has a hint of academia, a straight forward ease, and a dark humor slant. Johnson is a writer who disregards the restraint of genres. Go and read it right now.
Then visit Mat Johnson’s website, and also his infamously funny Twitter.
From Booklist: “Jaynes devises a mission to find the lost, black-inhabited island near Antarctica described in Poe’s narrative, setting off with an all-black crew that includes his seafaring cousin; his obese friend Garth; his ex-fiance, Angela, and her husband, Nathaniel; and two flamboyant mechanics. They discover that something else described in Poe’s narrative is also real: giant, yeti-like, albino humanoids living in large colonies below the ice in Antarctica. This extension of Poe’s adventure is a romp that surprises on every page. Funny, insightful, racially important, Pym is a death-defying adventure and a probing examination of notions of race, even at the farthest ends of the earth.”
Here’s some relevant words:
- I used to complain that the only things the white literary would would accept of Africa’s literary descendants were reflections of the Europeans themselves: works that focused on white racism, or the ghettos white economic and social disfranchisement of blacks created. I still think that, I have just come to the understanding that I’m no better (27)
- I am mulatto. I am mulatto in a long line of mulattoes, so visibly lacking in African heritage that I often appear to some uneducated eyes as a random, garden variety white guy. But I’m not….Octoroon would have been the antebellum word for me. …I am a black man who looks white (135)
- I would have to overcompensate for my pale skin to be accepted, I would have to learn to talk blacker, walk blacker, then even my peers. Or be rejected as other forever (137)
Here’s a video of him reading from Pym:
ALSO! Mat Johnson is doing a reading at the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival! Get excited! In fact, get so excited that you are inspired to DONATE TO THE FESTIVAL!
One thought on “Pym, Mat Johnson”