Hailed by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times as one of the best writers of his generation, Paul Beatty turns his creative eye to man's search for meaning and identity in an increasingly chaotic world.
After creating the perfect beat, DJ D***y goes in search of Charles Stone, a little know avant-garde jazzman, to play over his sonic masterpiece. His quest brings him to a recently unified Berlin, where he stumbles through the city's dreamy streets ruminating about race, sex, love, Teutonic gods , the prevent defence, and Wynton Marsalis in search of his artistic-and spiritual-other.
Ferocious, bombastic, and laugh-out-loud funny, Slumberland is vintage Paul Beatty and belongs on the shelf next to Jonathan Lethem, Colson Whitehead and Junot Diaz.
The narrator of Beatty s late 80s picaresque, Ferguson W. Sowell aka DJ Darky is so attuned to sound that he claims to have a phonographic memory. Ferguson, who does porno film scores for the money in L.A., has a cognoscenti s delight in jazz, and he s close to obsessed with Charles Stone, aka the Schwa, a musician who apparently disappeared into East Germany in the 60s. Ferguson receives an already-scored tape whose soundtrack is so rich and strange and transformative that it must be by Schwa. Ferguson is soon on his way to Slumberland, a bar in West Berlin to which he sources the tape. He arrives just in time to experience the sexual allure black men exercise on Cold War Berliners, and stays long enough to watch the city s culture fall apart after the fall of the Wall. With its acerbic running commentary on race, sex and Cold War culture, the latest from Beatty, author of Tuff and editor of The Anthology of African American Humor, contains flashes of absurdist brilliance in the tradition of William Burroughs and Ishmael Reed. But the plot seems little more than an excuse to set up a number of comic routines, denying the story a driving, unifying plot.