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Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Tales of the Out and the Gone" by Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka is a controversial author and poet who has been a literary revolutionary for decades. His latest work, a collection of shorts called "Tales of the Out and the Gone" published by Akashic Books, spans almost 40 years of writing. Most of the stories in this book have never been published before.

In the introduction, Baraka explains the tales of the "Out" are stories out of the ordinary, whereas the tales of the "Gone" are even farther "Out", wilder, crazier deeper. Reading through the book, it is easy to follow the tide of his writings over the years, beginning with a more overtly political bent, flowing through to stories of suspense, some almost sci-fi. The tales taken from more recent years gave me a real brain stretch trying to digest sentences like, "Your songs stain your skin like the future candle of No." Much of the fascination I have in this book is the seeming oneness of all the stories together, while each one can stand alone easily with its own unique voice.

Overall, "The Tales of the Out and the Gone" is a collection of exquisite, rhythmic storytelling. If you're looking for an out of the ordinary reading experience, Amiri Baraka will give it to you, out and gone.

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