Urban Romance: A Novel of New York in the '80s

Overview

A critically acclaimed journalist and screenwriter and the author of eight books, Nelson George is widely praised for his realistic portrayal of today's fast-changing African-American culture. "George is the leading critic of African-American popular culture of his generation," said Cornel West of George's Buppies, B-Boys, Baps & Bohos, and The New York Times Book Review hails his writing as "thoughtful and witty." Now, Nelson George brings together his abundant talents as observer and storyteller in his ...
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Overview

A critically acclaimed journalist and screenwriter and the author of eight books, Nelson George is widely praised for his realistic portrayal of today's fast-changing African-American culture. "George is the leading critic of African-American popular culture of his generation," said Cornel West of George's Buppies, B-Boys, Baps & Bohos, and The New York Times Book Review hails his writing as "thoughtful and witty." Now, Nelson George brings together his abundant talents as observer and storyteller in his eagerly awaited first novel. Urban Romance. Set amid the racial tension and moral confusion of New York City in the early eighties. Urban Romance brilliantly explores themes of African-American class struggle, cutthroat "black city politics," and the spread of urban culture. Dwayne Robinson, an acerbic music critic from the tough working-class streets of Brooklyn, is more ambitious than he is successful and more lustful than he is wise. Chasing women is his hobby until he encounters Danielle Embry, a sophisticated, suburban-born book editor who believes in love and work in equal portions. Though both are African-American, the connections and differences between them have as much to do with personality as with race. For Dwayne, love is elusive and sex something you can get your hands on. For Danielle, love is easy - maybe a bit too easy - but if a man abuses love she'll cut him off cold. It is their mutual attraction and philosophical clashes that give this big-city love story its energy and bite. In the tradition of Waiting to Exhale, Nelson George spins a provocative tale that examines male-female relationships and sexual mores with uninhibited freshness and originality.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A well-known critic of popular culture ( Buppies, B-Boys, Baps & Bohos ) George's first attempt at fiction is unfortunately clumsy. Dwayne Robinson, an aspiring music critic and intellectual bad boy from Brownsville (via St. John's University), falls in love with Danielle Embry, a dreamy Yale graduate from Connecticut who edits books for Doubleday but has her eye on the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Set in the early '80s, it gives the author an opportunity to show his wide knowledge of the b-boy subculture that Dwayne is busy writing about and that his friend Reggie is busy promoting. Dwayne struggles with his deepening feelings for Danielle while she, now in her first hectic year at Columbia, holds him at arm's length. Squabbles and tension are more frequent until Danielle realizes she is pregnant and the two must face decisions about commitment and ambition. George's characters are flat and the prose can be downright painful (``Danielle looked delicious, and Dwayne was grinning like he wanted a taste.''), retarding a potentially decent plot. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Dwayne Robinson, the protagonist of Ur ban Romance, might just be Nelson George in the early Eighties: He's a freelance writer and music critic for the Village Voice , Essence, and Billboard , waiting for inspiration for his first book. (George's own first book wasn't on music, but it does deal with black culture, as do his later books, such as Buppies, B-Boys, Baps & Bohos, LJ 1/93). Dwayne lives in two worlds--the world of poor black New York, b-boys, just-rising rap music, and the world of buppies, black middle-class urban professionals. Disdaining buppies, Dwayne nevertheless is pushed toward them by his new love, Columbia journalism graduate student Danielle, whose suburban New Jersey upbringing contrasts strongly with Dwayne's Brooklyn background. Much more than just an ``urban romance,'' this book uses the relationship between Dwayne and Danielle to explore black music, politics, and urban life. Despite some stilted dialog, too stiff characters, and unlikely coincidences, this novel is highly recommended for popular collections.-- Francine Fialkoff, ``Library Journal''
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399138652
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/4/1994
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 8.82 (w) x 5.84 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Nelson George
Nelson George

Nelson George is an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction. He has written for Playboy, Billboard, Esquire, the Village Voice, Essence, and many other national magazines, as well as writing and producing television programs and feature films.

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