The narrator of ``I Did That,'' one of the 11 stories in Holman's first collection, aptly describes the numb voyeurism that overtakes many of this Southern writer's characters: ``I was convinced that I could disappear if I was silent. I would walk the most dangerous streets--skim them hushed. I discovered other invisibles . . . I moved among them.'' In Holman's quirky, tragicomic suburban world, people are poised on the periphery of action and transformed reluctantly into participants in contemporary dramas of racism, crime, desire, love and death. The main character in ``On Earth'' flees his home to avoid witnessing his parents' demise--only to come to terms with his own life amid the drama of a landlady's unforeseen death. In ``The Story of Art History,'' a character's chance encounter with a bum later provides a moment of revelation in a listless, banal existence. Dreams and fantasies merge with the sluggish reality of everyday life, forming a murky realm where personal strength is more often imagined than realized. While Holman's blend of the conscious and unconscious struggles for a balance at times, often he is able to wed fantasy and reality into a delightful, coherent narrative enhanced by carefully crafted images. (May)
Holman's 11 stories deal with the humanity and lively sense of humor evident in the young black Americans who are his characters. In the title story, a young man's career changes drastically, and throughout the reader is inspired by his grasp of reality and upbeat attitude in dealing with his new friends and his new life. Yet Holman is compassionate when dealing with characters who sometimes do not fit society's mold perfectly. In ``Scuff,'' he presents a young adult who is having trouble in school and life--typical of many young adults, except that this character has the added pressure of being black. Also delineated is the heartwarming love given by this troubled teen's sister. This collection is worthy of public and academic libraries for the fresh approach it gives to young black Americans and for exposing barriers that many people may never have to face.--Vicki Cecil, Johnson Cty. Lib., Greenwood, Ind.