Tag Archives: New Orleans

Seeing Anything Clearly in This Time and Place: Zachary Lazar’s ‘Vengeance’

Published earlier this year to respectful notices, Zachary Lazar’s painstakingly crafted novel Vengeance (272 pages; Catapult) takes on the complicated issues of race, the socially constructed questions of guilt or innocence in late stage capitalism, cultural appropriation and redemption. “What ‘Vengeance’ really attempts to unravel is the problem of injustice, although it is not a protest novel,’’ Katy Waldman noted in The New Yorker. Prison reform has been in the air—just ask Kim Kardashian—but news cycles come and go. Regardless, Vengeance merits a more sustained look. The novel was inspired by the author’s visit to Angola, a Louisiana State Penitentiary (and former …Continue reading

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Brother’s Keeper: T. Geronimo Johnson’s ‘Hold It ‘Til It Hurts’

Upon bringing home his newly adopted son, who is black, to his other son, Achilles (also adopted, also black), the white father in T. Geronimo Johnson’s Hold It ‘Til It Hurts (Coffee House Press, 342 pages) announces, “Don’t need blood to be brothers.” Johnson’s violent first novel, though, effectively proves the opposite, but in a different sense: tearing through Afghanistan and Hurricane Katrina, the morgues of Atlanta and the stilted subdivisions of Maryland, Achilles Conroy finds familial love in the most harrowing situations. If Achilles’s younger brother, Troy, is “fearless and light, like a rock that floats,” Achilles is an …Continue reading

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