Have you ever read a book- a work of fiction- that reminds you so starkly of the world around you that you sit up straight, as though your improved posture will somehow further push you into the narrative? Well, that’s Welcome to Braggsville for you. This novel, written by T. Geronimo Johnson, presents to us a world of race relations, of cultural naivety, and of the repercussions of the realisation that you can live the same life as your peers, your colleagues and your confidantes, but that doesn’t mean that you’re all navigating through that same life in the same way.
4th Estate: This is going to be an obvious question, but Ferguson and the Eric Garner ‘I Can’t Breathe’ campaign… Has this given you- not a negative outlook- but what kind of perspective has this given you on your existence as a Black male in America?
T. Geronimo Johnson: None at all, it’s had really very little effect on me. It’s been frustrating, it’s been extraordinarily painful – but it’s not news. For me it’s not at all news.
‘The most dazzling, most unsettling, most oh-my-God-listen-up novel you’ll read this year.’ The Washington Post
‘When was the last time you were shocked by a turn in a novel? Not merely surprised or astonished but actually stunned?’ LA Times
‘Although Johnson’s novel does not touch on [Eric Garner or Michael Brown], it is impossible to read without imagining them as context.’ LA Times
‘An odyssey through Waffle Houses, evangelical churches and backyard barbecues ensues, with attitudes about everything from race to social media getting skewered.’ New York Post
‘[Johnson’s] narration has such athleticism that you feel energized just running alongside him — or even several strides behind.’ The Washington Post
‘Part of growing up in America… is learning how to negotiate that national amnesia.’ The Washington Post
Get a copy here, and get ready to open your eyes to a world you didn’t ever know about, but has been there all along.