bn.comSet in St. Louis, Missouri, Keene's birthplace, the novel is his fictional debut. Annotations explores many complex issues. A coming-of-age story, the book references specific time periods and historical events through the cultural associations of the '40s and '60s. Rich in metaphor and highly poetic, Annotations is a poetic meditation about private lives and public events.
Library JournalKeene's slim first novel appears to be a disguised autobiographical narrative whose power resides in formidable imagery and the virtuoso use of language. The plot, if there is one, concerns a young black man's coming of age from birth to college years. Along the way while commenting aphoristically, he encounters many characters with unique personal outlooks and participates in gay and straight sexual experiences that he seems to avoid as often as not. But one does not read this book for its story. In fact, it should be read twice: once to get an idea of events and a second time to savor its language and pounding images (e.g., from the first page: "A crueler darkening, as against the assured arrival of dusk"). Keene's artistry makes him a writer to watch. Highly recommended for literary and African American collections.-Harold Augenbraum, Mercantile Lib., New York
BooknewsA beautiful, poetic piece of experimental writing, centered around the experience of growing up Black in St. Louis. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Ishmael ReedKeene's flow of ideas are brilliant, polished and of considerable depth.
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