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A different drummer

By: Kelley, William Melvin

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1787478033 / 9781787478039
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20 cm xxxiv, 302 pages
General (US: Trade)  Learn More
Reprint. Illustration on inside cover. Originally published: Garden City: Doubleday, 1962.

'More than lives up to the hype' Observer'Set to become a publishing sensation' Kirsty Lang, BBC Front Row'An astounding achievement' Sunday Times'The lost giant of American literature' New YorkerJune, 1957.

One afternoon, in the backwater town of Sutton, a young black farmer by the name of Tucker Caliban matter-of-factly throws salt on his field, shoots his horse and livestock, sets fire to his house and departs the southern state. And thereafter, the entire African-American population leave with him. The reaction that follows is told across a dozen chapters, each from the perspective of a different white townsperson.

These are boys, girls, men and women; either liberal or conservative, bigoted or sympathetic - yet all of whom are grappling with this spontaneous, collective rejection of subordination. In 1962, aged just 24, William Melvin Kelley's debut novel A Different Drummer earned him critical comparisons to James Baldwin and William Faulkner.

Fifty-five years later, author and journalist Kathryn Schulz happened upon the novel serendipitously and was inspired to write the New Yorker article 'The Lost Giant of American Literature', included as a foreword to this edition.


FA Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), HBTS Slavery & abolition of slavery, JPVH1 Civil rights & citizenship

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