Information about the author.
Philadelphia Fire is the most ambitious, most highly praised, and best-selling work of fiction by “one of America’s premier writers of fiction” (The York Times). Based on the 1985 bombing police of a West Philadelphia row house owned the Afrocentric cult Move, it tells of Cudjoe, a writer who returns to his old neighborhood after a decade of self-imposed exile, obsessed with finding the lone boy who was seen running from the flames.
Reimagining the black neighborhood of his youth—Homewood, Pittsburgh—Wideman creates a dazzling and evocative milieu. From the wild and uninhibited 1920s to the narcotized 1970s, “he establishes aamythological and symbolic link between character and landscape, language and plot, that in the hands of a less visionary writer might be little more than stale sociology” (New York Times Book Review).
In the tradition of his best-selling Brothers and Keepers, which was about himself and his imprisoned brother, John Edgar Wideman (“our most powerful and accomplished artist of the urban black world” - Los Angeles Times Book Review) gives a searingly honest meditation on “fathers, color, roots, time, and language.” Certain to galvanize national attention, Fatheralong is a fiercely lyrical and revealing memoir that attempts all the while, “among other things, to break out, displace, replace the paradigm of race [America’s enduring malaise].” As Wideman puts it: “Teach me who I might be, who you might be - without it.”
From affluent Amherst to blue-collar Pittsburgh to rural South Carolina, here is the story of an American family. Wresting himself free from the shackles of racial ideology, Wideman bravely engages not only the living but also the “ghostlier demarcations” of his family’s past, the better to understand who he is today and to heal familial wounds. Fatheralong is a triumphant book of reckoning, an inspiring celebration of homecoming.