PositiveChicago Review of BooksA debut novel should pack a wallop. Be it through the language or the themes, the feelings the text evokes in readers must be powerful and undeniable. Jesse McCarthy’s novel The Fugitivities does just that, and can perhaps be best explained as a music playlist curated by the likes of authors Jonathan Lethem and Percival Everett, with liner notes by musician and author Questlove. The book’s track list is just the right number of songs to get you to the connecting flight of your international rendezvous and contains the right amount of sentiment for contemplating your past and your future.
PositiveChicago ReviewWright’s prolific and prophetic use of language shows what happens when the tables are turned and an individual who is stripped of everything but his body can then, as an act of freedom, strip the value from everything else. The added layer of race further subverts the ideals that go along with what society alleges are the right things to desire—Christianity, money, and life. Daniels rejects these desires. While above ground, he anxiously awaited the birth of his child. While underground, Daniels sees a dead Black baby floating in the muck like a discarded doll. He pushes it away because it is too much of a reminder of the problems of Blackness on the surface ... Wright makes clear it is a precarious walk through life as a Black man. His criticism of this treacherous existence is made more prescient as America staggers from the real-life trauma of police shootings causing the deaths of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago and 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, MN, all while following the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white policeman responsible for the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.