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More About This Book

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780973172522
  • Publisher: Black Ink Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2004
  • Pages: 74

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 5, 2009

    Unapologetic Racism

    Poorly written. Unbelievable dialogue that makes you cringe, not because of its content but by how poorly and unrealistically it is written. The lack of quality in the writing indicates that this book was written and self-published to satisfy the writer's feeble ego. Not recommended to anyone who appreciates literature.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Guttersnipe is way ahead of its time!

    To those who criticize the merits of this book on quality of writing, note that the book was selected for inclusion by more than 20 minimum-masters degree-level educated collections librarians at public and university-based libraries across Canada.

    To those who criticize the merits of this book on its ethics, please read the following quote from the late French writer Andre Gide.

    "I offer this book for what it is worth. It is a fruit full of bitter ash, like those desert colocynths which grow in parched places and reward one's thirst with only a more dreadful scalding, yet upon the gold sand are not without a certain beauty.

    If I had intended my hero as an example, it must be granted I did anything but succeed; the handful of readers who ventured to interest themselves in [his] story did so in order to vilify him with all the force of their own righteousness.

    If I had intended the book as an indictment of [him], I should scarcely have succeeded any better, for no one thanked me for the indignation my hero occasioned; apparently such indignation was felt in spite of the author; from [him] it overflowed onto myself; I came very near being identified with him, according to some.

    But I wanted to write this book neither as an indictment nor as an apology, and I have taken care not to pass judgement. Today's public no longer forgives an author for failing, after the action he describes, to give his verdict; indeed, in the very course of the drama he is told to take sides, to declare himself for Alceste or Philinte, for Hamlet or Ophelia, for Faust or Marguerite, for Adam or Jehovah. I do not claim, of course, that neutrality (I was about to say indecision) is a sure sign of a great mind; but I do believe that many great minds have been greatly disinclined to conclude?and that to state a problem properly is not to suppose it solved in advance.

    I am reluctant to use the word "problem" here. In art there are no problems for which the work of art is not the sufficient solution. If "problem" means "drama," shall I say that the one this book narrates, though it is played out in many a hero's soul, is nonetheless too general to remain circumscribed by his singular adventure.

    If certain distinguished minds have chosen to regard this drama as no more than the account of a strange case and its hero a sick man, if they have failed to see that some very urgent ideas of very general interest may nonetheless be found in it, that is not the fault of these ideas nor of this drama, but of the author, and I mean his clumsiness?though he has put into this book all his passion, all his tears, and all his care. But the real interest of a work and the interest taken in it by the public of the moment are two very different things. One may without too much conceit prefer the risk of failing to interest the moment by what is genuinely interesting to beguiling momentarily a public fond of trash.

    Be that as it may, I have tried to prove nothing, but to paint my picture well and light it properly."

    Andre Gide in his preface to the second edition of L'Immoraliste (1921). An edition of 300 copies was printed in June 1902.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Simply a Racist Novel

    John Richter is the unapologetic racist protagonist in this outwardly racist novella penned by Vancouverite Jay Black (a.k.a. The Blackbird). John Richter is an unemployed ex-military sharpshooter living in Vancouver, Canada. He is unable to secure work and his employment insurance benefits are coming to a quick and frugal end. Richter's racism is apparent very early in the book. He blames his inability to find work on all non-Caucasians who take advantage of affirmative action-like programs and foolish political correctness. He hates them simply because their skin color is not white. Richter blames them personally for his imagined sufferings. Richter finally secures a job on Granville Island as an exterminator hired to shoot rats whose population has exploded due to a municipal garbage strike.
    It is early in the work that logic, theme, and rational argument become a casualty of immature and undeveloped writing. Jay Black's "absurdist" disclaimer is merely a smokescreen for the irrational racism that this novella champions. The protagonist and storytelling is not in the least absurdist. John Richter moves through the novella with his own perverse rational motivation. The character is not staggered by the self-realization of the meaningless of an irrational universe where life has no purpose or meaning. He is consciously offended too readily to adhere to any kind of absurdist model. Richter's racist reactions therefore are puerile and predictable. When he goes to the corner grocery store, he berates the Chinese clerk for bagging his fruit with "filthy hands" and for not remembering his proclivities. Richter psychologically tortures a fellow worker and then kills him outright. When the police arrive, they accept Richter's "accidental" shooting of the man with a mere wink and nudge. In his growing delusion, Richter convinces himself that he can make a bid for the Canadian Olympic shooting team and convinces himself that he can win a gold medal if he can shoot the elusive "mother of all rats" which he has named Oprah. As if the plot were not thin enough, it begins to tear like wet tracing paper. The dialogue between the police and Richter is so unbelievable and unnatural that it is uncomfortable. The sexualizing of the queen rat, Oprah, is non sequitur and banal; it is used only to further the novella's racist tack.
    It is unclear from where Richter's hatred stems. Jay Black never states or implies this crucial insight. John Richter's ego is as anemic as the author's rationale. John Richter gets a job from a white executive with not so much as a background check. He is given the freedom to use a firearm in a public place from a white administrator. White police officers dismiss him as a good old boy after he murders a person of color. Who is getting the special treatment here? The obvious logical inconsistencies dash this plot against the literary rocks. In addition, the "suicide by cop" at the end of the story is as predictable and bland as turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving dinner.
    This novella lacks literary merit. It does not share any insights with the reader. It does not expose any literary richness. It does not expose any psychological observation. It is an immature racist rant written without imagination or craft. There is no sweet song from this Blackbird. The only redeeming quality for the reader and society is that this book is so poorly written that it is essentially unreadable.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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