A True Story
By Diana Athill
Granta UK, Paperback, 9781862077089, 135pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2005
Hakim Jamal was born in Roxbury, a black district of Boston, in 1933. At 27 he was converted by the teachings of Malcolm X, leader of the Black Muslim movement, Nation of Islam, and his life changed. He became an eloquent spokesman for the black urban underclass in America. Diana Athill met Hakim when she edited his book, and against all odds, they became friends, sometimes lovers. In Make Believe, Diana Athill describes, with her trademark unflinching honesty, her relationship with Hakim and his milieu, the devastation wrought on his personality by his background, his increasingly bizarre behavior, his descent into madness, and his murder in the early 1970s.