Reviews

Song of the Shank, by Jeffery Renard Allen

blnktdnstrs's review

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4.0

Extremely lyrical - to the point that I had a little difficulty following the text at some points, but overall the prose is incredibly evocative. The story itself is moving and intriguing, with plot twists and switches in point of view that kept me riveted. I picked this up off a shelf of free books and I've never been more pleasantly surprised!

jojobobo38's review

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2.0

I wanted very much to love this novel. I wanted its lyricism and improvisational narration style to be wonderful--I tend to love these traits. I also tend to appreciate novels that deal with race relations in complex, nuanced, but assertive ways. There were wonderful passages, and occasionally wonderful characters--the part of the novel where Seven is central is probably the strongest. But the overall effect of the book was to be improvisational without finding themes for the reader to rest in and find nuance off of. Instead I felt constantly adrift, and I felt that the overall message about race relations and about the impossibility for Black folks to win recognition in the white world to be lost in the themelessness.

lizdesole's review

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1.0

Oh, how I wish I could've finished this. I am the wrong person for this book though. It's a shame because the story sounds so fascinating. Unfortunately (for me at least) the story is obscured by very dense flowery prose. I personally am not a big fan of poetry and this book was almost 600 pages of over-elaborate, suffocating poetic writing with an awkward cadence. I only made it about 100 pages in before I decided that I love to read too much to suffer through this one. But, if you're a poetry fan, go for it

nicole232's review against another edition

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2.0

I received an ARC copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway.

I tried to finish this book. I really did. It's been sitting on my shelf for almost a year now, and I've tried to read it two different times -- the first about six months ago and the second this week. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to call it "done for now" at this point.

I have a lot of respect for the author and the amount of work and research that went into this novel, but I am unable to connect to the writing style. In short spurts, I really enjoy the melodic prose, the asides, and the beautiful descriptions. But in this 500+ page book, I find my mind wandering and reach the end of a page only to realize I haven't been paying attention. Again.

I am glad for the chance to read this novel -- or at least try to anyway. Maybe I'll pick it up again someday and be able to wade through the dense prose to get to the heart of the story.

phenkat's review against another edition

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2.0

Literary gobbledygook. Beautiful sentences that made no sense.
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