‘Fanon’ Tells One Man’s Story Through Another’s Anguish

Unlike in some contemporary novels we could name, the conceit behind John Edgar Wideman’s absorbing new book serves a higher purpose. He tells the story of the narrator’s struggle with a biography of Frantz Fanon, the leader of the Algerian National Front and author of The Wretched of the Earth, through the writer’s neurotic letters to his subject. The narrator’s so-called “Fanon project” grows like a tumor, gnawing away at his thoughts, resulting in a kind of indirect biography shot through the consciousness of a deeply suffering soul.


John Edgar Wideman

Houghton Mifflin