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A stunning debut novel, from Rhodes Scholar and winner of the
Caine Prize for African Writing, Tope Folarin about a Nigerian family
living in Utah and their uncomfortable assimilation to American life.
Living in small-town Utah has always been an uneasy fit for Tunde
Akinola’s family, especially for his Nigeria-born parents. Though
Tunde speaks English with a Midwestern accent, he can’t escape the
children who rub his skin and ask why the black won’t come off. As
he struggles to fit in and find his place in the world, he finds
little solace from his parents who are grappling with their own
ever the optimist, works tirelessly chasing his American dream while
his wife, lonely in Utah without family and friends, sinks deeper
into schizophrenia. Then one otherwise-ordinary morning, Tunde’s
mother wakes him with a hug, bundles him and his baby brother into
the car, and takes them away from the only home they’ve ever known.
But running away
doesn’t bring her, or her children, any relief from the demons that
plague her; once Tunde’s father tracks them down, she flees to
Nigeria, and Tunde never feels at home again. He spends the rest of
his childhood and young adulthood searching for connection—to the
wary stepmother and stepbrothers he gains when his father remarries;
to the Utah residents who mock his father’s accent; to evangelical
religion; to his Texas middle school’s crowd of African-Americans;
to the fraternity brothers of his historically black college. In so
doing, he discovers something that sends him on a journey away from
everything he has known.
and perspective-shifting, A Particular Kind of Black Man is a
beautiful and poignant exploration of the meaning of memory, manhood,
home, and identity as seen through the eyes of a first-generation