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In partnership with The Black Academy of Arts and Letters
In September 1969 a cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of a housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .45 from his pocket, and in front of everybody shoots the project’s drug dealer at point-blank range.
The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong, the first novel from James McBride since his National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird. As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters affected by the shooting—caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York—overlap in unexpected ways. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion.
McBride is an accomplished musician and author whose books include The Good Lord Bird, which Showtime is turning into a television series; the bestsellers The Color of Water, Song Yet Sung, and Miracle at St. Anna, which was adapted into a film by Spike Lee with a screenplay by McBride; and Kill 'Em and Leave, a biography of James Brown. Awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Obama “for humanizing the complexities of discussing race in America,” McBride is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.
"A master conjurer of African Americana."
—The Seattle Times