Brother and the Dancer

Brother and the Dancer

by Keenan Norris
     
 

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Winner of the 2012 James D. Houston Award, Keenan Norris’s first novel is a beautiful, gritty, coming-of-age tale about two young African Americans in the San Bernardino Valley--a story of exceptional power, lyricism, and depth. Erycha and Touissant live only a few miles apart in the city of Highland, but their worlds are starkly separated by the lines of class…  See more details below

Overview

Winner of the 2012 James D. Houston Award, Keenan Norris’s first novel is a beautiful, gritty, coming-of-age tale about two young African Americans in the San Bernardino Valley--a story of exceptional power, lyricism, and depth. Erycha and Touissant live only a few miles apart in the city of Highland, but their worlds are starkly separated by the lines of class, violence, and history. In alternating chapters that touch and intertwine only briefly, Brother and the Dancer follows their adolescence and young adulthood on two sides of the city, the luminous San Bernardino range casting its hot shade over their separate tales in an unflinching vision of black life in Southern California.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/16/2013
Norris’s first novel is extraordinarily promising and wildly uneven. He follows two characters, Touissant and Erycha, from childhood until they begin college. They live in different Highland, Calif., neighborhoods and tell different stories of black experience. Touissant is the child of a university professor and his journey to articulate to himself who he is as a black man is marked by a deep, internal, philosophical conversation; Norris’s depiction of how joining a football team or choosing a college are major decisions for Touissant are fascinating and successful. Erycha, the “dancer” of the title, is also processing her experiences to create an identity, but her story is missing the inner illumination Norris brings to Touissant, and, by comparison, she feels too familiar. In the moments of their meeting, which bookend the novel, both Erycha and Touissant reach a peak of inauthenticity; they lie to each other, and it’s not much clearer by the end why they lied than it was in the beginning. Read the book for Touissant’s inner monologues, and keep an eye out for Norris’s next novel; if this book is any indication, he’s developing a major talent. (Nov.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781597142458
Publisher:
Heyday Books
Publication date:
09/15/2013
Pages:
266
Sales rank:
1,306,148
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Keenan Norris’ novel Brother and the Dancer is the winner of the 2012 James D. Houston Award. He teaches English and African-American Literature and helps conduct the Affirm program at Evergreen Valley College. His work has appeared in the Santa Monica, Green Mountains and Evansville Reviews, Connotation Press, Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California’s Inland Empire and BOOM: A Journal of California. He is also the editor of Scarecrow Press’s upcoming collection of critical essays, Street Lit. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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