Ndiya Grayson reluctantly returns to her childhood home of Chicago as a young professional, but even her high-end job in a law office can’t protect her from half-repressed memories of childhood trauma. Shame Luther is a no-nonsense construction worker by day and a self-taught piano player by night. The love story that ensues propels Ndiya and Shane on an unforgettable journey from Chicago’s South Side to the coast of Kenya as they navigate the turbulence of long-buried pasts and an uncertain future.
As gun and police violence ravage so many U.S. cities, and gentrification pushes people out of their homes, veteran poet and scholar of African-American culture Ed Pavlić offers a debut novel that explores the displacing and dehumanizing effects of these forces. Chicago, specifically, which Pavlić renders in synesthetic rhythms, tones, tastes and colors to show how a person’s hometown codes their consciousness. At its best, “Another Kind of Madness” is a 500-page prose poem, and the heights it scales are worth the bumpy ride toward the boundaries of fiction ... the long African section of the book is not nearly as taut and controlled as the Chicago chapters, but it’s worth reading to discover why it’s so important for Shame and Ndiya to lose and then find each other.
...a soulful debut novel about love and restoring hope ... In prose by turns lyrical and mesmerizing, Pavlić taps deeply into what it means to be Black in America, tossing in some surprising narrative tricks along the way.
...[a] beautiful debut novel ... Pavlic’s prose is simple yet lyrical, which strikingly depicts not only the intricacies of Ndiya and Shame’s relationship, but also a city and its history, as seen through architectural turnover and musical evolution. This is a moving novel about two people finding the strength to move forward together.