All little stories when they grow up want to be Ishmael Reed novels. They know that the nonpareil knowledge, freedom, and fun will be exhilarating. It’s the only place where in one paragraph you can bump into James Baldwin, John Waters, Chester Himes, Frank Zappa, Murphy Brown, Mary Richards, Beyoncé, Stephen King, Amiri Baraka, Edward Albee, Andy Warhol, and Snoop Dogg (11-12). You are privy to grappling with European and Indian mythology. You also get to visit art galleries and museums because plentiful graphic images are often part of the package. As Loop, a character in Reed’s 1969 Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down, expresses it, “No one says a novel has to be one thing. It can be anything it wants to be (36).” In Conjuring Hindi, Reed’s eleventh offering, the author reinforces this statement and buckles everyone in for a wild ride.
In the spirit of Marvin Gaye, one of several artists honored in No One Can Be at Peace Unless They Have Freedom, this volume is Michael Simanga’s What’s Going On book. It is an urgent and majestic mix of inner-city-blues-what’s-going-on-save-the-children--mercy-mercy-me-right-on-wholy-holy sensibilities remastered for our times.