Vintage, Paperback, 9780375707544, 400pp.
Publication Date: June 13, 2000
"[A]n extraordinary book, a work of staggering virtuosity. With its publication, a giant world of literature has just grown twice as tall."--Newsday
From Ralph Ellison--author of the classic novel of African-American experience, Invisible Man--the long-awaited second novel. Here is the master of American vernacular--the rhythms of jazz and gospel and ordinary speech--at the height of his powers, telling a powerful, evocative tale of a prodigal of the twentieth century.
"Tell me what happened while there's still time," demands the dying Senator Adam Sunraider to the itinerate Negro preacher whom he calls Daddy Hickman. As a young man, Sunraider was Bliss, an orphan taken in by Hickman and raised to be a preacher like himself. Bliss's history encompasses the joys of young southern boyhood; bucolic days as a filmmaker, lovemaking in a field in the Oklahoma sun. And behind it all lies a mystery: how did this chosen child become the man who would deny everything to achieve his goals? Brilliantly crafted, moving, wise, Juneteenth is the work of an American master.
John F. Callahan is Morgan S. Odell Professor of Humanities at Lewis and Clark College. He is literary executor for Ralph Ellison's estate.
Charles Johnson is Pollock Chair in Humanities at the University of Washington. One of the most admired American writers of recent decades, he is the author of four novels (including Middle Passage, which won the National Book Award), numerous short stories, and more than twenty screenplays.
"[A] vastly ambitious informing allegory, an allegory made rich, as in Invisible man, with the sensory details of which Ellison was such a master." -The New York Review of Books
"[A] stunning achievement.... Juneteenth is a tour de force of untutored eloquence. Ellison sought no less than to create a Book of Blackness, a literary composition of the tradition at its most sublime and fundamental." -Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Time
"Juneteenth...threatens to come as close as any since Huckleberry Finn to grabbing the ring of the great American Novel." -Los Angeles Times