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Open Books Open Minds - PYM: A Novel by Mat Johnson
The RIC Open Books--Open Minds common book for 2013/2014
Open Books--Open Minds is the Rhode Island College common book program. This initiative brings together first-year students early in their first semester at RIC, and links them with upper classmen, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and the greater Rhode Island community through book discussions and participation in a rich array of programs and activities.
New York Times Book Review, March 4, 2011
“If we can identify how the pathology of Whiteness was constructed,” the narrator, Chris Jaynes, proposes early in “Pym,” Mat Johnson’s relentlessly entertaining new novel, “then we can learn how to dismantle it.”
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2010
"Multimedia writer and novelist Johnson seems to have a fabulous time tinkering with wordplay and social conventions in his wildly inventive take on the roots of fantastic literature."
"Mat Johnson, a writer of African, Black Muscogee, and Irish ancestry who identifies himself as an “octoroon,” has written the most wildly inventive comic novel in some time, taking as his source material Edgar Allan Poe’s only completed novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. At first blush, the task of wringing humor out of the Poe text might seem a Sisyphean one: Arthur Gordon Pym is decidedly irony-challenged and may be the most racist novel ever produced by a major American writer. Yet in Johnson’s sure hands, the stone rolls easily up the comedic slope. " Jace Weaver, University of Georgia.
Fresh Air: March 2, 2011, 6 minutes, 46 seconds
"Loony, disrespectful and sharp, Johnson's Pym is a welcome riff on the surrealistic shudder-fest that is Poe's original. As Johnson implicitly points out, these traditional "heart of darkness" narratives take on a whole different hue when the explorer's telescope is seized by other hands."