Paperback è Mumbo Jumbo PDF Þ

Paperback è Mumbo Jumbo PDF Þ


Mumbo Jumbo ❮PDF❯ ✭ Mumbo Jumbo ✩ Author Ishmael Reed – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk The Classic Freewheeling Look at Race Relations Through the Ages Mumbo Jumbo is Ishmael Reed s brilliantly satiric deconstruction of Western civilization, a racy and uproarious commentary on our socie The Classic Freewheeling Look at Race Relations Through the Ages Mumbo Jumbo is Ishmael Reed s brilliantly satiric deconstruction of Western civilization, a racy and uproarious commentary on our society In it, Reed, one of our preeminent African American authors, mixes portraits of historical figures and fictional characters with sound bites on subjects ranging from ragtime to Greek philosophy Cited by literary critic Harold Bloom as one of the five hundred most significant books in the Western canon, Mumbo Jumbo is a trenchant and often biting look at black white relations throughout history, from a keen observer of our culture.

    Paperback è Mumbo Jumbo PDF Þ canon, Mumbo Jumbo is a trenchant and often biting look at black white relations throughout history, from a keen observer of our culture."/>
  • Paperback
  • 224 pages
  • Mumbo Jumbo
  • Ishmael Reed
  • English
  • 08 June 2019
  • 0684824779

About the Author: Ishmael Reed

Ishmael Scott Reed is an American poet, essayist, and novelist A prominent African American literary figure, Reed is known for his satirical works challenging American political culture, and highlighting political and cultural oppressionReed has been described as one of the most controversial writers While his work has often sought to represent neglected African and African American perspectives, his energy and advocacy have centeredbroadly on neglected peoples and perspectives irrespective of their cultural origins.



10 thoughts on “Mumbo Jumbo

  1. MJ Nicholls MJ Nicholls says:

    Reed is the sort of impish satirical crank whose Promethean intellect and restlessly zesty creativity tingles my funnybones, but whose books always leave me yearning forlogic, understanding and clarity No exception here This one is your all out postmodern metatext, splicing citations and references and photos from other texts into the body of the main text a satire about a dancing pandemic called Jes Grew and despite the presentational panache of the novel, nestling beneath is really a Reed is the sort of impish satirical crank whose Promethean intellect and restlessly zesty creativity tingles my funnybones, but whose books always leave me yearning forlogic, understanding and clarity No exception here This one is your all out postmodern metatext, splicing citations and references and photos from other texts into the body of the main text a satire about a dancing pandemic called Jes Grew and despite the presentational panache of the novel, nestling beneath is really another relentless absurdist farce, albeit one written by a dazzling hyperbrain More to the point the references of whatever African African late 60s cultural moment under analysis are entirely lost on a 26 year old whitey from Backwoods, Scotchland, so the book deserves aclued in reader In terms of the language, Reed has dropped the wizardry from his first two books Yellow Radio and Freelance Pallbearers, which is a shame, because his skill in that regard is nonpareil

  2. Nathan "N.R." Gaddis Nathan "N.R." Gaddis says:

    Dionysian counter punch to the Apollonian order enjoyed by all Atonists It swings To say we have it coming is an understatement I had it coming, what with after all that faith in fiction mumbo jumbo I was jiving upon reading my Mano Mano Mano Makes no difference what I say Jes Grew is upon you You know I ll tell history different But that s cuz I m a stuff d shirt Besides, Osiris is nodead or alive than Odin and Zeus and ancient Egypt still makes for great fiction, and fiction Dionysian counter punch to the Apollonian order enjoyed by all Atonists It swings To say we have it coming is an understatement I had it coming, what with after all that faith in fiction mumbo jumbo I was jiving upon reading my Mano Mano Mano Makes no difference what I say Jes Grew is upon you You know I ll tell history different But that s cuz I m a stuff d shirt Besides, Osiris is nodead or alive than Odin and Zeus and ancient Egypt still makes for great fiction, and fiction fiction is where it s at You know what Emma says about revolutions and dancing Yeah, it s like that Bread, sure, but Roses too and there s no need to insist upon your dialectic More Reed please

  3. Zadignose Zadignose says:

    Mumbo Jumbo is an innovative novel with it s own original voice, which unfortunately turns rather clunky somewhere in the middle, and doesn t quite recover in the end The strength of the novel is in its playfulness There are some good parodic moments, and while the book indulges in some far flights of fancy in developing its conspiracy theories, it knows how to have fun with its own conceits, rather than deliver its material too dryly.There are certainly messages of social relevance within the Mumbo Jumbo is an innovative novel with it s own original voice, which unfortunately turns rather clunky somewhere in the middle, and doesn t quite recover in the end The strength of the novel is in its playfulness There are some good parodic moments, and while the book indulges in some far flights of fancy in developing its conspiracy theories, it knows how to have fun with its own conceits, rather than deliver its material too dryly.There are certainly messages of social relevance within the work In that way it s a kind of coded text though you don t need an enigma machine to puzzle it out think somethinglike Pig Latin While I m sure we re not meant to take it as literal truth, with 1000 year old white Knights Templar plotting in a grand conspiracy to keep the black man down because of the danger inherent in his dance, there s certainly plenty of fair criticism of art institutes as a form of cultural piracy, patronizing patrons who damn with faint praise, generational disconnect that prevents the youth from learning from the legacy of their elders, white America s contempt for Haiti and ignorance of its history, wishy washy white do gooders whose sympathy is suspect and unreliable, the indoctrination of some black folks to have contempt for their own race once they ve been given a chance to rise one or two steps above their brethren, and the hypocrisy of belittling native Afro Caribbean spiritualism in favor of the white man s goofy Bible or Quran, as though those religious traditions were less primitive for the virtue of having been blessed by contact with Western Culture.So, okay, there you have it Depending on your perspective, you may feel the book scores some points, or you may find its reliance on archetypes and some of its cartoonishness to be a little off putting.Then, there s the important theme, perhaps thepoignant one, of the elder who s seen it all, but can t get the kids of today to understand the nature of the conflict and the struggle that he s been through He s a celebrated relic of sorts, respected in a token way, but not really understood, and his culture will not be passed on The historic struggle of soul vs no soul is sure to rise again, and the hope resides in the fact that the next generation will write its own texts and find its own solutions Since they can t grasp their own history, we can just anticipate that the old struggle will return as the new struggle.Our crumbling bridge between past and future, PaPa LaBas, was already suffering from a degree of self doubt and disconnect from his own roots, so his position seems to be a mix of tragedy and hope He knows a lot about what has been lost, and what is being lost, while he can only guess at what will come to replace it And he has reason for anxiety, knowing that dangers lurk, which the too credulous and apathetic new generation doubts or fails to suspect deeply enough, so that they remain unarmed.So, hey, that sounds mostly good, so where s the downside Well, the book succumbs to the author s temptation to explain a bit too much, and to take some of the book s fancies a littleseriously than we might have expected from the earlier developments Not that the book explains in the way I have done here yeah, I m dry and not fun, and I m secretly a member of the Wallflower Order , but rather there s a long expository section in which the details of a conspiracy spanning all of human history are laid out Along the way, some of the humor gets a bit sour, as the author indulges in intentional anachronisms that for some reason don t seem to fit the tone of what surrounds them e.g., having the ancient Egyptian prince god Set order his authorities to pull over carriages on the side of the roads and issue tickets and warrants in a parody of modern America s police harassment of black motorists It s not that I object to such things on principal, but as I characterized it at the beginning of this review, clunky is the best way I can think to describe this section of the book that brings a halt to the semi mystery caper novel we were reading before.I had a feeling that the author would have better pursued one of two contrary options Best would be Option A Leave out almost all explanation Keep it in your head as a secret key to the novel which doesn t need to be exposed to the reader Second Best would be Option B Go Whole Hog Develop and expand that whole expository section into an engaging, sprightly narrative on par with what came before, don t worry about the fact that it swells the novel to twice its current size, and still don t explain everything Maybe find a way to weave itseamlessly into the framing narrative.But the least good option, Option C, is the way the book went, which was to just tell everyone what your idea was, even though the narrative progress is brought to a grinding halt And then we discover that the plot that we thought was still developing is now shortly terminated Then we get a confusing epilogue which gets across the theme mentioned above relating to PaPa LaBas as the bridgeUltimately, it was a good read, something I m glad to have given my time to, but reading it involved some frustrations and disappointments too I m hoping that I ll find another Ishmael Reed book that I can embraceenthusiastically, with less reservations.Final point Ishmael Reed cleverly set out to make me feel guilty for criticizing his book before I had the opportunity to do so This book, and some of the author s comments outside of this book, criticize the critic who imposes conventional, conservative expectations upon a work, one who is too ready to slight the accomplishment of a black artist who takes risks to express himself in a mode outside the mainstream That plus the fact that I can t dance basically makes me a soulless sucker, but as an Atonist, I just can t deny my own legacy

  4. Chloe Chloe says:

    I m often leery when friends of mine lend me their favorite books How soon do you expect me to read this You know I have a stack of books the size of an end table still to read, right What if, though this has never before happened in the 25 years I ve been a regular reader, I should lose or damage the book Most intimidating of all, what if I don t like the read or what if I find it to be so bad that my opinion of you as a friend is changed due to your devotion to these pages Aftertha I m often leery when friends of mine lend me their favorite books How soon do you expect me to read this You know I have a stack of books the size of an end table still to read, right What if, though this has never before happened in the 25 years I ve been a regular reader, I should lose or damage the book Most intimidating of all, what if I don t like the read or what if I find it to be so bad that my opinion of you as a friend is changed due to your devotion to these pages Afterthan a few heated arguments about the merits of a particular book with friends I ve had to place myself at a bitof a remove from things It s this same reason why I never recommend my favorite books for monthly book club reads I take readingpersonally than most, apparently So it was with much trepidation and nervousness that I accepted my friend James copy of this book Battered and well worn, with passages underlined and bracketed from multiple read throughs, this was obviously a well loved book I felt as though we were at a turning point in our friendship and this slim volume would be the pivot upon which the whole relationship would turn So I guess it s a good thing that I ended up rather enjoying this light hearted romp.Taking place in Prohibition era New York City, Ishmael Reed s Mumbo Jumbo charts the rise of ragtime and jazz as an infectious thought meme of liberation and fertility called Jes Grew beating its tattoo of freedom from hierarchical society straight from the heart of ancient Egypt Regular readers of science fiction will recognize many similarities with the idea of the Sumerian namshub that Neil Stephenson used with such aplomb in his seminal work, Snow Crash Arrayed against this meme are all the conspiratorial powers of white society, from the simple Freemasons to the Knights Templar, who will stop at nothing to discredit and destroy this nascent movement before it infects New York at large and undoes centuries worth of work at bringing order to society and keeping the dark races under their thumb.I know, this sounds so very much like every other work of conspiracy fiction ever published and I would have rolled my eyes so hard at some points that they would have dropped from my head and onto the table, if Reed s style weren t so whimsically refreshing He doesn t take his words too seriously and neither should the reader Throwing in a great amount of history with references to Marcus Garvey s Back to Africa movement and cameos from major figures of the Harlem Renaissance, Reed paints an eminently enjoyable take on race in Western history and, between bits of buffoonery, offers a solid critique of the subtle racism that infects so many of our actions to this day I especially enjoyed his group of art thieves who would liberate indigenous icons from those graveyards of culture, museums, and return them to their rightful homes among the tribes of Borneo or the descendants of the Olmec I kept hoping for an Indiana Jones moment where a character could say that it belongs in a museum only to get pistol whipped and told that it belongs to the people who created it.There are a lot of references packed into this slim volume and one reading can not hope to catch all of the nuance of Reed s work I see now why James had so thoughtfully underlined many of his favorite passages, it s a great book to quote in conversation and one that I ve found myself thinking about quite often in the days since finishing it I d never read any Ishmael Reed prior to Mumbo Jumbo but he s certainly an author I ll be on the lookout for in the future

  5. Jonathan Jonathan says:

    Some great, witty, justifiably angry writing here, and some wonderful use of fragmentation and sampling but somehow it never cohered for me and, at times, I did actually find my interest waning a little, which is not a good sign for such a short book

  6. Phil Overeem Phil Overeem says:

    For various and sundry reasons, it took me over twenty years after finding out about it to read this book I advise you not to procrastinate as long as I did Challenging, hilarious, thought provoking, and still utterly relevant, MUMBO JUMBO leaves you wondering where Jes Grew is growing now, and just how off the tracks our cultural train may be running If I could find Mr Reed s contact info, I d write him the book will foster loads of questions If you have read it, I suggest you check ou For various and sundry reasons, it took me over twenty years after finding out about it to read this book I advise you not to procrastinate as long as I did Challenging, hilarious, thought provoking, and still utterly relevant, MUMBO JUMBO leaves you wondering where Jes Grew is growing now, and just how off the tracks our cultural train may be running If I could find Mr Reed s contact info, I d write him the book will foster loads of questions If you have read it, I suggest you check out any of Kip Hanrahan s CONJURE recordings, in which a stunning variety of black musicians Allen Touissaint, Alvin Youngblood Hart, David Murraythat ain t close to all bring many of the elements of MUMBO JUMBO to life, often with Mr Reed reading over them These recordings may be hard to find in hard copy form If you don t mind subscription downloads at a super cheap price, eMusic carries them

  7. Andrew Andrew says:

    Ishmael Reed takes a lot of Pynchonian ideas massive conspiracy theory, fundamental novelty and puts a distinct Afro futurist spin on them, and the result is phenomenal What makes Mumbo Jumbo unique is its remarkable merger of formal experiment incorporation of visual material, novel typography, freewheeling plot structure and sheer enjoyment I ve never hadfun demanding the downfall of static white society.

  8. Andrea Andrea says:

    A challenging and jubilatory postmodern re vision of the mythical powers that be, MJ is a short but intense ride through the underbelly of the jousting hidden forces shaping history, religion, culture, and race relations, and it all comes to a head in the jazzy arena of 1920 s Harlem After a first flair up in 1890 s New Orleans, HooDoo Voodoo forces are once again alive and on the rise as Jes Grew, the psychic virus spreads and infects its carriers with the irresistable urge to jam, dance, A challenging and jubilatory postmodern re vision of the mythical powers that be, MJ is a short but intense ride through the underbelly of the jousting hidden forces shaping history, religion, culture, and race relations, and it all comes to a head in the jazzy arena of 1920 s Harlem After a first flair up in 1890 s New Orleans, HooDoo Voodoo forces are once again alive and on the rise as Jes Grew, the psychic virus spreads and infects its carriers with the irresistable urge to jam, dance, and otherwise just get funky But the staid Atonist watchdogs, the Wallflower Order of the Knights of Templar, are vigilant and they intend to put a stop to the epidemic before it gets the upper hand And so begins a riotous and keen eyed romp from Harlem to ancient Egypt via Haiti, jam packed with real and fictional characters, references, and imagery As bizarre as the synopsis sounds, IR manages to inject evenweirdness in his novel by prankishly fiddling with the form merging text with paratext, inserting seemingly random and or displaced photos and graphics throughout, experimental punctuation Some readers might find this to be pure 1970 s oblige gadgetry, but I loved the photos and graphics, which I found mostly oblique and off center, but not unrelated As a whole, this novel was a unique and engrossing reading experience for me while some parts were definitely rough going and had to be read and what the reread, and, to be sure, the multitude of references was daunting, it was worth the effort I d take a half star off because there was some suffering involved, but I can t , so I ll go for the big five Finally, a few quotes for the sheer pleasure of some very irreverent humorTo blazes with your election, man Don t you understand, if this Jes Grew becomes pandemic, it will mean the end of Civilization as We Know It People hated Set He went down as the 1st man to shut nature out of himself He called it discipline He is also the deity of the modern clerk, always tabulating, and perhaps invented taxes Lazarus was a zombie

  9. Bill Bill says:

    Another one of those life altering books Takes two of my favorite things, satire and history, and completely turned it on its head I don t know what kind of writer I d be without Ishmael Reed.

  10. El El says:

    Not only was this the book my in person book club decided to read for the month of August, it also made an appearance in the Toni Morrison documentary, Toni Morrison The Pieces I Am 2019 That seemed providential, the spirit of Toni Morrison who had died earlier in the week when I saw the documentary shining down on us Like, yeah, bitches, read this book by Ishmael Reed.Evidently Harold Bloom called Mumbo Jumbo one of the 500 most canonical books in Western literature I don t know I ve ev Not only was this the book my in person book club decided to read for the month of August, it also made an appearance in the Toni Morrison documentary, Toni Morrison The Pieces I Am 2019 That seemed providential, the spirit of Toni Morrison who had died earlier in the week when I saw the documentary shining down on us Like, yeah, bitches, read this book by Ishmael Reed.Evidently Harold Bloom called Mumbo Jumbo one of the 500 most canonical books in Western literature I don t know I ve ever actually read anything by this Bloom guy, and my feelings are that he focused a lot of his energy on primarily dead white dudes, but hey, Reed isn t a dead white dude, so there s a strong possibility that Bloom isn t full of shit Entirely.Not gonna lie, though, I don t think I had heard of this title until Rayroy from book club recommended it, so high five to him I guess It was just the two of us at the discussion, actually, but maybe that was okay because I was able to hear right from him why he wanted us to read this book Because, also not gonna lie, most of the time I was reading this, I was ready to flush Rayroy down the toilet.It s not that I didn t get the book, but I also didn t get the book It s probably too smart for me, to be real, and I actually benefited from Rayroy s thoughts on it This was his second time reading it and he gave me things to think about that I either missed entirely in my reading, or didn t think about deeply enough We went through the text and he pointed out some of his favorite passages, or the ones that spoke to him, and because I m shameless I sticky noted those bits and now I ll share them as though they were my own original thoughts Deluxe Ice Cream, Coffee, 1 cent Pies, Cakes, Tobacco, Hot Dogs and Highways Highways leading to nowhere Highways leading to somewhere Highways the Occupation used to speed upon in their automobiles, killing dog pigs and cattle belonging to the poor people What is the American fetish about highways They want to get somewhere, LaBas offers.Because something is after them, Black Herman adds.But what is after them They are after themselves They call it destiny Progress We call it Haints Haints of their victims rising from the soil of Africa, South America, Asia p135 Since I missed that entirely the first time until Rayroy pointed it out, it wasn t until like yesterday that I realized how that reminds me of a lot of what Henry Miller cracked on about in The Air Conditioned Nightmare Oh, look, a dead white dude This is pure 1970s hoodoo voodoo laden, musical and historical and Afrocentric, well, mumbo jumbo On one hand it s incredibly fascinating, especially the way Reed puts all these words down on paper as though the words themselves are musical notes, a rhythmic jazz, maybe, with sudden surprises like characters who say things like I was in Harlem watching the little colored waifs play in the school yard Some of them dropped their notes which I immediately swept into my briefcase and they would bawl but then I appeased the little chocolate dollops by awarding them peppermint candy p141 We also spent a good chunk of book club looking at the illustrations and photographs in each of our editions Some of the ones I had in my book were replaced by different images in Rayroy s copy, and I can t imagine why that might be unless maybe copyrights or something I have to say that most of the images in my copy were better than the one in his, not that that means anything I m just saying that if you read any copy of this book, you may have different images throughout.This is also a frustrating read because it s just not how my mind works Rayroy said his girlfriend who is no academic slouch either compared it to the frustration she felt reading Gilles Deleuze and F lix Guattari I too have read A Thousand Plateaus Capitalism and Schizophrenia I get her point But even that one worked for methan this one, the difference probably being Deleuze and Guattari s book is something like nonfiction for lack of a better word, lawl and Reed s book is fiction though with historical components I don t even know what I m trying to say about that now I just wrote myself in a circle

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10 thoughts on “Mumbo Jumbo

  1. MJ Nicholls MJ Nicholls says:

    Reed is the sort of impish satirical crank whose Promethean intellect and restlessly zesty creativity tingles my funnybones, but whose books always leave me yearning forlogic, understanding and clarity No exception here This one is your all out postmodern metatext, splicing citations and references and photos from other texts into the body of the main text a satire about a dancing pandemic called Jes Grew and despite the presentational panache of the novel, nestling beneath is really a Reed is the sort of impish satirical crank whose Promethean intellect and restlessly zesty creativity tingles my funnybones, but whose books always leave me yearning forlogic, understanding and clarity No exception here This one is your all out postmodern metatext, splicing citations and references and photos from other texts into the body of the main text a satire about a dancing pandemic called Jes Grew and despite the presentational panache of the novel, nestling beneath is really another relentless absurdist farce, albeit one written by a dazzling hyperbrain More to the point the references of whatever African African late 60s cultural moment under analysis are entirely lost on a 26 year old whitey from Backwoods, Scotchland, so the book deserves aclued in reader In terms of the language, Reed has dropped the wizardry from his first two books Yellow Radio and Freelance Pallbearers, which is a shame, because his skill in that regard is nonpareil

  2. Nathan "N.R." Gaddis Nathan "N.R." Gaddis says:

    Dionysian counter punch to the Apollonian order enjoyed by all Atonists It swings To say we have it coming is an understatement I had it coming, what with after all that faith in fiction mumbo jumbo I was jiving upon reading my Mano Mano Mano Makes no difference what I say Jes Grew is upon you You know I ll tell history different But that s cuz I m a stuff d shirt Besides, Osiris is nodead or alive than Odin and Zeus and ancient Egypt still makes for great fiction, and fiction Dionysian counter punch to the Apollonian order enjoyed by all Atonists It swings To say we have it coming is an understatement I had it coming, what with after all that faith in fiction mumbo jumbo I was jiving upon reading my Mano Mano Mano Makes no difference what I say Jes Grew is upon you You know I ll tell history different But that s cuz I m a stuff d shirt Besides, Osiris is nodead or alive than Odin and Zeus and ancient Egypt still makes for great fiction, and fiction fiction is where it s at You know what Emma says about revolutions and dancing Yeah, it s like that Bread, sure, but Roses too and there s no need to insist upon your dialectic More Reed please

  3. Zadignose Zadignose says:

    Mumbo Jumbo is an innovative novel with it s own original voice, which unfortunately turns rather clunky somewhere in the middle, and doesn t quite recover in the end The strength of the novel is in its playfulness There are some good parodic moments, and while the book indulges in some far flights of fancy in developing its conspiracy theories, it knows how to have fun with its own conceits, rather than deliver its material too dryly.There are certainly messages of social relevance within the Mumbo Jumbo is an innovative novel with it s own original voice, which unfortunately turns rather clunky somewhere in the middle, and doesn t quite recover in the end The strength of the novel is in its playfulness There are some good parodic moments, and while the book indulges in some far flights of fancy in developing its conspiracy theories, it knows how to have fun with its own conceits, rather than deliver its material too dryly.There are certainly messages of social relevance within the work In that way it s a kind of coded text though you don t need an enigma machine to puzzle it out think somethinglike Pig Latin While I m sure we re not meant to take it as literal truth, with 1000 year old white Knights Templar plotting in a grand conspiracy to keep the black man down because of the danger inherent in his dance, there s certainly plenty of fair criticism of art institutes as a form of cultural piracy, patronizing patrons who damn with faint praise, generational disconnect that prevents the youth from learning from the legacy of their elders, white America s contempt for Haiti and ignorance of its history, wishy washy white do gooders whose sympathy is suspect and unreliable, the indoctrination of some black folks to have contempt for their own race once they ve been given a chance to rise one or two steps above their brethren, and the hypocrisy of belittling native Afro Caribbean spiritualism in favor of the white man s goofy Bible or Quran, as though those religious traditions were less primitive for the virtue of having been blessed by contact with Western Culture.So, okay, there you have it Depending on your perspective, you may feel the book scores some points, or you may find its reliance on archetypes and some of its cartoonishness to be a little off putting.Then, there s the important theme, perhaps thepoignant one, of the elder who s seen it all, but can t get the kids of today to understand the nature of the conflict and the struggle that he s been through He s a celebrated relic of sorts, respected in a token way, but not really understood, and his culture will not be passed on The historic struggle of soul vs no soul is sure to rise again, and the hope resides in the fact that the next generation will write its own texts and find its own solutions Since they can t grasp their own history, we can just anticipate that the old struggle will return as the new struggle.Our crumbling bridge between past and future, PaPa LaBas, was already suffering from a degree of self doubt and disconnect from his own roots, so his position seems to be a mix of tragedy and hope He knows a lot about what has been lost, and what is being lost, while he can only guess at what will come to replace it And he has reason for anxiety, knowing that dangers lurk, which the too credulous and apathetic new generation doubts or fails to suspect deeply enough, so that they remain unarmed.So, hey, that sounds mostly good, so where s the downside Well, the book succumbs to the author s temptation to explain a bit too much, and to take some of the book s fancies a littleseriously than we might have expected from the earlier developments Not that the book explains in the way I have done here yeah, I m dry and not fun, and I m secretly a member of the Wallflower Order , but rather there s a long expository section in which the details of a conspiracy spanning all of human history are laid out Along the way, some of the humor gets a bit sour, as the author indulges in intentional anachronisms that for some reason don t seem to fit the tone of what surrounds them e.g., having the ancient Egyptian prince god Set order his authorities to pull over carriages on the side of the roads and issue tickets and warrants in a parody of modern America s police harassment of black motorists It s not that I object to such things on principal, but as I characterized it at the beginning of this review, clunky is the best way I can think to describe this section of the book that brings a halt to the semi mystery caper novel we were reading before.I had a feeling that the author would have better pursued one of two contrary options Best would be Option A Leave out almost all explanation Keep it in your head as a secret key to the novel which doesn t need to be exposed to the reader Second Best would be Option B Go Whole Hog Develop and expand that whole expository section into an engaging, sprightly narrative on par with what came before, don t worry about the fact that it swells the novel to twice its current size, and still don t explain everything Maybe find a way to weave itseamlessly into the framing narrative.But the least good option, Option C, is the way the book went, which was to just tell everyone what your idea was, even though the narrative progress is brought to a grinding halt And then we discover that the plot that we thought was still developing is now shortly terminated Then we get a confusing epilogue which gets across the theme mentioned above relating to PaPa LaBas as the bridgeUltimately, it was a good read, something I m glad to have given my time to, but reading it involved some frustrations and disappointments too I m hoping that I ll find another Ishmael Reed book that I can embraceenthusiastically, with less reservations.Final point Ishmael Reed cleverly set out to make me feel guilty for criticizing his book before I had the opportunity to do so This book, and some of the author s comments outside of this book, criticize the critic who imposes conventional, conservative expectations upon a work, one who is too ready to slight the accomplishment of a black artist who takes risks to express himself in a mode outside the mainstream That plus the fact that I can t dance basically makes me a soulless sucker, but as an Atonist, I just can t deny my own legacy

  4. Chloe Chloe says:

    I m often leery when friends of mine lend me their favorite books How soon do you expect me to read this You know I have a stack of books the size of an end table still to read, right What if, though this has never before happened in the 25 years I ve been a regular reader, I should lose or damage the book Most intimidating of all, what if I don t like the read or what if I find it to be so bad that my opinion of you as a friend is changed due to your devotion to these pages Aftertha I m often leery when friends of mine lend me their favorite books How soon do you expect me to read this You know I have a stack of books the size of an end table still to read, right What if, though this has never before happened in the 25 years I ve been a regular reader, I should lose or damage the book Most intimidating of all, what if I don t like the read or what if I find it to be so bad that my opinion of you as a friend is changed due to your devotion to these pages Afterthan a few heated arguments about the merits of a particular book with friends I ve had to place myself at a bitof a remove from things It s this same reason why I never recommend my favorite books for monthly book club reads I take readingpersonally than most, apparently So it was with much trepidation and nervousness that I accepted my friend James copy of this book Battered and well worn, with passages underlined and bracketed from multiple read throughs, this was obviously a well loved book I felt as though we were at a turning point in our friendship and this slim volume would be the pivot upon which the whole relationship would turn So I guess it s a good thing that I ended up rather enjoying this light hearted romp.Taking place in Prohibition era New York City, Ishmael Reed s Mumbo Jumbo charts the rise of ragtime and jazz as an infectious thought meme of liberation and fertility called Jes Grew beating its tattoo of freedom from hierarchical society straight from the heart of ancient Egypt Regular readers of science fiction will recognize many similarities with the idea of the Sumerian namshub that Neil Stephenson used with such aplomb in his seminal work, Snow Crash Arrayed against this meme are all the conspiratorial powers of white society, from the simple Freemasons to the Knights Templar, who will stop at nothing to discredit and destroy this nascent movement before it infects New York at large and undoes centuries worth of work at bringing order to society and keeping the dark races under their thumb.I know, this sounds so very much like every other work of conspiracy fiction ever published and I would have rolled my eyes so hard at some points that they would have dropped from my head and onto the table, if Reed s style weren t so whimsically refreshing He doesn t take his words too seriously and neither should the reader Throwing in a great amount of history with references to Marcus Garvey s Back to Africa movement and cameos from major figures of the Harlem Renaissance, Reed paints an eminently enjoyable take on race in Western history and, between bits of buffoonery, offers a solid critique of the subtle racism that infects so many of our actions to this day I especially enjoyed his group of art thieves who would liberate indigenous icons from those graveyards of culture, museums, and return them to their rightful homes among the tribes of Borneo or the descendants of the Olmec I kept hoping for an Indiana Jones moment where a character could say that it belongs in a museum only to get pistol whipped and told that it belongs to the people who created it.There are a lot of references packed into this slim volume and one reading can not hope to catch all of the nuance of Reed s work I see now why James had so thoughtfully underlined many of his favorite passages, it s a great book to quote in conversation and one that I ve found myself thinking about quite often in the days since finishing it I d never read any Ishmael Reed prior to Mumbo Jumbo but he s certainly an author I ll be on the lookout for in the future

  5. Jonathan Jonathan says:

    Some great, witty, justifiably angry writing here, and some wonderful use of fragmentation and sampling but somehow it never cohered for me and, at times, I did actually find my interest waning a little, which is not a good sign for such a short book

  6. Phil Overeem Phil Overeem says:

    For various and sundry reasons, it took me over twenty years after finding out about it to read this book I advise you not to procrastinate as long as I did Challenging, hilarious, thought provoking, and still utterly relevant, MUMBO JUMBO leaves you wondering where Jes Grew is growing now, and just how off the tracks our cultural train may be running If I could find Mr Reed s contact info, I d write him the book will foster loads of questions If you have read it, I suggest you check ou For various and sundry reasons, it took me over twenty years after finding out about it to read this book I advise you not to procrastinate as long as I did Challenging, hilarious, thought provoking, and still utterly relevant, MUMBO JUMBO leaves you wondering where Jes Grew is growing now, and just how off the tracks our cultural train may be running If I could find Mr Reed s contact info, I d write him the book will foster loads of questions If you have read it, I suggest you check out any of Kip Hanrahan s CONJURE recordings, in which a stunning variety of black musicians Allen Touissaint, Alvin Youngblood Hart, David Murraythat ain t close to all bring many of the elements of MUMBO JUMBO to life, often with Mr Reed reading over them These recordings may be hard to find in hard copy form If you don t mind subscription downloads at a super cheap price, eMusic carries them

  7. Andrew Andrew says:

    Ishmael Reed takes a lot of Pynchonian ideas massive conspiracy theory, fundamental novelty and puts a distinct Afro futurist spin on them, and the result is phenomenal What makes Mumbo Jumbo unique is its remarkable merger of formal experiment incorporation of visual material, novel typography, freewheeling plot structure and sheer enjoyment I ve never hadfun demanding the downfall of static white society.

  8. Andrea Andrea says:

    A challenging and jubilatory postmodern re vision of the mythical powers that be, MJ is a short but intense ride through the underbelly of the jousting hidden forces shaping history, religion, culture, and race relations, and it all comes to a head in the jazzy arena of 1920 s Harlem After a first flair up in 1890 s New Orleans, HooDoo Voodoo forces are once again alive and on the rise as Jes Grew, the psychic virus spreads and infects its carriers with the irresistable urge to jam, dance, A challenging and jubilatory postmodern re vision of the mythical powers that be, MJ is a short but intense ride through the underbelly of the jousting hidden forces shaping history, religion, culture, and race relations, and it all comes to a head in the jazzy arena of 1920 s Harlem After a first flair up in 1890 s New Orleans, HooDoo Voodoo forces are once again alive and on the rise as Jes Grew, the psychic virus spreads and infects its carriers with the irresistable urge to jam, dance, and otherwise just get funky But the staid Atonist watchdogs, the Wallflower Order of the Knights of Templar, are vigilant and they intend to put a stop to the epidemic before it gets the upper hand And so begins a riotous and keen eyed romp from Harlem to ancient Egypt via Haiti, jam packed with real and fictional characters, references, and imagery As bizarre as the synopsis sounds, IR manages to inject evenweirdness in his novel by prankishly fiddling with the form merging text with paratext, inserting seemingly random and or displaced photos and graphics throughout, experimental punctuation Some readers might find this to be pure 1970 s oblige gadgetry, but I loved the photos and graphics, which I found mostly oblique and off center, but not unrelated As a whole, this novel was a unique and engrossing reading experience for me while some parts were definitely rough going and had to be read and what the reread, and, to be sure, the multitude of references was daunting, it was worth the effort I d take a half star off because there was some suffering involved, but I can t , so I ll go for the big five Finally, a few quotes for the sheer pleasure of some very irreverent humorTo blazes with your election, man Don t you understand, if this Jes Grew becomes pandemic, it will mean the end of Civilization as We Know It People hated Set He went down as the 1st man to shut nature out of himself He called it discipline He is also the deity of the modern clerk, always tabulating, and perhaps invented taxes Lazarus was a zombie

  9. Bill Bill says:

    Another one of those life altering books Takes two of my favorite things, satire and history, and completely turned it on its head I don t know what kind of writer I d be without Ishmael Reed.

  10. El El says:

    Not only was this the book my in person book club decided to read for the month of August, it also made an appearance in the Toni Morrison documentary, Toni Morrison The Pieces I Am 2019 That seemed providential, the spirit of Toni Morrison who had died earlier in the week when I saw the documentary shining down on us Like, yeah, bitches, read this book by Ishmael Reed.Evidently Harold Bloom called Mumbo Jumbo one of the 500 most canonical books in Western literature I don t know I ve ev Not only was this the book my in person book club decided to read for the month of August, it also made an appearance in the Toni Morrison documentary, Toni Morrison The Pieces I Am 2019 That seemed providential, the spirit of Toni Morrison who had died earlier in the week when I saw the documentary shining down on us Like, yeah, bitches, read this book by Ishmael Reed.Evidently Harold Bloom called Mumbo Jumbo one of the 500 most canonical books in Western literature I don t know I ve ever actually read anything by this Bloom guy, and my feelings are that he focused a lot of his energy on primarily dead white dudes, but hey, Reed isn t a dead white dude, so there s a strong possibility that Bloom isn t full of shit Entirely.Not gonna lie, though, I don t think I had heard of this title until Rayroy from book club recommended it, so high five to him I guess It was just the two of us at the discussion, actually, but maybe that was okay because I was able to hear right from him why he wanted us to read this book Because, also not gonna lie, most of the time I was reading this, I was ready to flush Rayroy down the toilet.It s not that I didn t get the book, but I also didn t get the book It s probably too smart for me, to be real, and I actually benefited from Rayroy s thoughts on it This was his second time reading it and he gave me things to think about that I either missed entirely in my reading, or didn t think about deeply enough We went through the text and he pointed out some of his favorite passages, or the ones that spoke to him, and because I m shameless I sticky noted those bits and now I ll share them as though they were my own original thoughts Deluxe Ice Cream, Coffee, 1 cent Pies, Cakes, Tobacco, Hot Dogs and Highways Highways leading to nowhere Highways leading to somewhere Highways the Occupation used to speed upon in their automobiles, killing dog pigs and cattle belonging to the poor people What is the American fetish about highways They want to get somewhere, LaBas offers.Because something is after them, Black Herman adds.But what is after them They are after themselves They call it destiny Progress We call it Haints Haints of their victims rising from the soil of Africa, South America, Asia p135 Since I missed that entirely the first time until Rayroy pointed it out, it wasn t until like yesterday that I realized how that reminds me of a lot of what Henry Miller cracked on about in The Air Conditioned Nightmare Oh, look, a dead white dude This is pure 1970s hoodoo voodoo laden, musical and historical and Afrocentric, well, mumbo jumbo On one hand it s incredibly fascinating, especially the way Reed puts all these words down on paper as though the words themselves are musical notes, a rhythmic jazz, maybe, with sudden surprises like characters who say things like I was in Harlem watching the little colored waifs play in the school yard Some of them dropped their notes which I immediately swept into my briefcase and they would bawl but then I appeased the little chocolate dollops by awarding them peppermint candy p141 We also spent a good chunk of book club looking at the illustrations and photographs in each of our editions Some of the ones I had in my book were replaced by different images in Rayroy s copy, and I can t imagine why that might be unless maybe copyrights or something I have to say that most of the images in my copy were better than the one in his, not that that means anything I m just saying that if you read any copy of this book, you may have different images throughout.This is also a frustrating read because it s just not how my mind works Rayroy said his girlfriend who is no academic slouch either compared it to the frustration she felt reading Gilles Deleuze and F lix Guattari I too have read A Thousand Plateaus Capitalism and Schizophrenia I get her point But even that one worked for methan this one, the difference probably being Deleuze and Guattari s book is something like nonfiction for lack of a better word, lawl and Reed s book is fiction though with historical components I don t even know what I m trying to say about that now I just wrote myself in a circle

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