'More than lives up to the hype' Observer 'Set to become a publishing sensation' Kirsty Lang, BBC Front Row 'An astounding achievement' Sunday Times 'The lost giant of American literature' New Yorker
June, 1957. One afternoon, in the backwater town of Sutton, a young black farmer by the name of Tucker Caliban matter-of-factly throws salt on his field, shoots his horse and livestock, sets fire to his house and departs the southern state. And thereafter, the entire African-American population leave with him.
The reaction that follows is told across a dozen chapters, each from the perspective of a different white townsperson. These are boys, girls, men and women; either liberal or conservative, bigoted or sympathetic - yet all of whom are grappling with this spontaneous, collective rejection of subordination.
In 1962, aged just 24, William Melvin Kelley's debut novel A Different Drummer earned him critical comparisons to James Baldwin and William Faulkner. Fifty-five years later, author and journalist Kathryn Schulz happened upon the novel serendipitously and was inspired to write the New Yorker article 'The Lost Giant of American Literature', included as a foreword to this edition.
Simple, timeless, mythic . . . an astounding achievement . . . still relevant and powerful today. (Sunday Times)
Set to become a publishing sensation. (Kirsty Lang BBC Front Row)
Black America's lost literary masterpiece. (Observer)