This Book Will Change Your Life

[Okay, the Bible will also change your life but in a different, lifelong way.]

The Nickel Boys should win the Nobel Prize for Literature this fall.  Colson Whitehead is perhaps the greatest living American writer.

But that’s not why everyone should read this book.

I’ve suggested all kinds of non-fiction books – especially for people in the dominant culture. (Read: White. Christian. Anglo.)  Maybe you have reached the point of rolling your eyes when I go on about the need for White People to do the work of educating ourselves about race and white privilege.  But here is a novel that captures the truth about white supremacy in the fictional story of Elwood Curtis – a young man with a promising future whose life takes a cruel turn.  It will change your life.

Don’t read the reviews.  Too many spoilers.  Just read the book.  (And then read Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead too, if you haven’t already read it.)

White People have work to do to fight racism.  Maybe a novel will lure us into some fresh conversations.

POSTSCRIPT  I hesitated for a moment when writing that Mr. Whitehead is “perhaps the greatest living American writer” because . . . Toni Morrison.  When she died today, my heart sank.  But now I know for certain that Colson Whitehead is in that seat.

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