January 6, 2020

Everyone from Warren G. Harding to King Tut shows up in this madcap and visionary novel from Ishmael Reed. But the star of the show is not even a person, . America, wrote Ishmael Reed in his novel Mumbo Jumbo, is “mercurial, restless, violent the travelling salesman who can sell the world. MUMBO JUMBO by Ishmael Reed Mumbo Jumbo is a non-fiction novel. When a novel includes a item bibliography, you know we’re in.

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Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed

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. As in the s with its ragtime vogue, the Jazz Age threatens to overwhelm “Western Civilization” with a pleasure-loving and peaceable way of life opposed to the sterile and exploitative lifeworld of, locally, “neuter-living Protestants,” or those whom Reed more broadly calls Atonists, or monotheists worshippers of the sun: While his work has often sought to represent neglected African and African-American perspectives, his energy and advocacy have centered more broadly on neglected peoples and perspectives irrespective of their cultural origins.

Nov 14, Peter Landau rated it really liked it. He is also the deity of the modern clerk, always tabulating, and perhaps invented taxes. Mumbo Jumbo First edition.

Mumbo Jumbo

This isn’t just a fancy metaphor. Published June 11th by Scribner first published In that way it’s a kind of coded text though you don’t need an enigma machine to puzzle it out I’ve never had more fun demanding the downfall of static white society.

For one thing, it expresses sufficient quantities of anti-Islam sentiment to get Reed brought up on hate speech charges in Europe, as he seems to think that Islam is, no less than any other form of religious or secular monotheism, an attempt to repress the authentic black mysteries.

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 Orderbut rather there’s a long expository section in which jhmbo details of a conspiracy spanning all of human history are laid out. When one of the characters in on a quest to find a “talking android” it seemed apparent that he was looking for an actual person to be a spokesperson.


I advise you not to procrastinate as long as I did. 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 jujbo book. Never has a novel been gifted a more appropriate title.

Jazz and blues meet mainstream media, and Haitian spirits clash with ’20s New York, as the spontaneous, homemade, and utterly infectious spirit of Black Mumboo creativity, Jes’ Grew, sweeps the land. In Thomas Pynchon ‘s Gravity’s Rainbowa remark by the narrator places Reed in the heart of postmodern intertextuality, saying: Also, Nelson deals with Reed’s use of technology and its functionality in the text.

What makes “Mumbo Jumbo” unique is its remarkable merger of formal experiment incorporation ishmarl visual material, novel typography, freewheeling plot structure and sheer enjoyment. Featuring OsirisSethMoses and rsed important figures in both Egyptian and Judeo-Christian mythology, Reed re-imagines an entirely alternate past, evidenced by the Templar conflict that takes place in the novel.

His 10 novels are, for the most part, subtle satires on race, worked into settings such as the OJ Simpson trials, a US civil war in which photocopiers exist and a wild west where cowboys wield laser guns. Voodoo itself is traced back to sharing a common ancestor with Judeo-Christianity in ancient Egypt, with Osiris as the first recipient of Jes Grew, whose effects and powers are interchangeable with that of Voodoo.

Finally, a few quotes for the sheer pleasure of some very mmbo humor: Take the aforementioned ‘Atonists’, for example.

Eugene Brown, an early black convert rred Islamas a group of radicals plans to return museum treasures looted from ancient Egypt to Africa, and the Atonists within the Wallflower Order are trying to locate and train the perfect “Talking Android,” a black man who will renounce African-American culture in favor of European American culture.

Literary critic Harold Bloom cited the novel as one of the most important books in the Western canon. Non lo si vede mai ridere fino alle lacrime come il Buddha grassottello strabico che sghignazza con le braccia alzate o come certi loa africani, gli Orisha. Never does 1 see him laughing until tears appear in his eyes like the roly-poly squint-eyed Buddha guffawing with arms upraised, or certain African loas, Orishas. People want to catch this new disease.


And that’s a huge theme.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Apr 11, Steve rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: In fact, an overhasty reading of Mumbo Jumbo might lead one to expect that its ideological conflict is a matter of black vs.

The text begins and ends as if it were a movie script, with credits, a fade-in, and a freeze-frame followed by the publication and title pages which occur after chapter one. How can you keep a conspiracy this big a secret? 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.

But Reed’s most ambitious joke is delivered in a climactic thirty-page summing-up that parodies detective-novel exposition resolutions, conspiracy theories, and religious revelations all at once. The satire historiographically rede itself out on a ledge overlooking Black Studies by incorporating Black Studies as the text of which it is outside. Another conundrum for me is the definition of android in this novel.

In this vein he seems adamant to defamiliarize the familiar. 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 ragti 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.

Reed’s Chapter 52 follows in two parts after Apuleius in exposing the full-throated Osiris myth as a fertility rite Jes grew with anachronistic reading of Vietnam thrown in for good measure the narrative in which this myth embeds itself is set in Twenties Harlemas well as an origin story for the people of jukbo Book.