If you focus on reviews in your summary bibliography, be sure to follow Rayven’s lead and collect a series of substantial ones.
Dr. B. Collins
Contemporary American Ethnic Literature
November 15, 2013
Bell, Bernard W. “Percival L. Everett. Erasure.” African American Review 37.2-3 (2003): 474-77. JSTOR. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.
Bernard Bell refers to Everett’s Erasure as his “most wryly humorous and disturbingly autobiographical and metafictional novel” of the fifteen penned by Everett (474). Bell notes that Erasure, a “provocative satire”, explores the relationship between “nonconventional, contemporary African American writers” and the authority that big publishing companies carry (475). In his review, Bell states that Everett shares the same experiences of his fictional character Monk. Like Everett, Monk has been turned away from white critics of publishing companies for not writing stories that are “black enough”. After the success of Juanita Jenkins’ novel, Monk decides to “self righteously” change his name and chooses to write his “outrageous and scurrilous parody”. Bell believes that Monk’s actions of portraying himself as Stagg Leigh and the success of his book in the media erases his individuality and the integrity he once had as an author. The “story within a story” style and the “tragicomic” mood of the story grabs the attention of the readers and is a cleaver way to take on topics such as double-consciousness, stereotypes and identity crisis.
Maine, David. “Erasure.” PopMatters. PopMatters, 13 Feb. 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
David Maine explores the significance of the similar academic background between Monk and Percival Everett. While he is not quick to make assumptions that Everett speaks directly through Monk, he is sure to notice that Everett uses Monk a way to make commentary on his own views of contemporary literature and academia, especially in the case of African American writers. Maine admits that Erasure forced him to think about the “awkward situation” that African American writers, like Everett and Monk are put in when dealing with these publishing companies. Maine feels the connection between Ralph Ellison and the themes of invisibility and erasure are undeniable. Maine compares the success of We’s Lives in Da Ghetto and My Pafology to the gritty novel Push and the Oprah book club-style acceptance in Kenya Durston. Furthermore, David Maine refuses to chalk Erasure up as just a commentary on the publishing world, the success of stereotypical novels and African American writers. He believes that another key to the success of the novel is the way Everett skillfully delineated the troubling emotional state of Monk throughout the novel.
Miller, Benjamin T. “Untimely Book Review: Erasure by Percival Everett.” WordPress. N.p., 8 Aug. 2011. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Benjamin Miller notes the risks that Percival Everett takes on nearly every page of his novel. Miller admits the unfortunate life events that Monk suffers and the unmerited success of Juanita Jenkins’ novel propel him to write an exploitive book of his own. Miller believes the best part about Erasure is Everett’s keen eye for the reader’s enjoyment. The reader understands how Monk feels to be such an experienced writer and not be useful or able to share his work on a broader stage. While the inclusion of My Pafology was a risk, Miller notes that it does not bring the book as a whole down. The content of the “extra” book was jarring, however, Miller found himself sympathizing with the character Van Go Jenkins.
Pinckney, Darryl. “Colour Bind.” The Guardian. The Guardian News and Media Limited, 18 Apr. 2003. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Darryl Pickney sums Erasure up as an experimental, allusive tale, infused with a serious tone, social inventiveness that “builds then surprises” its readers. Pinckney captures the dilemma that Monk is in, while being called “not black enough” by publishers and critics; he makes references to the times where Monk’s race clearly mattered to those in authority. Pinckney discovers the main threads of the novel: the disintegration of Monk’s family and the explosive crisis Monk suffers in his writing life. Pinckney argues that the most beautiful writing moments in Erasure were the interactions Monk shared with his father. The picture that Monk portrayed of his middle class family proved, to Pinckney, that the true story of his life was interesting. Monk’s parody and his subsequent fame cause Pinckney to think if the novel is a journal of a dead author, erasing himself from the scene.
Tripney, Natasha. “Erasure by Percival Everett.” Ready Steady Book for Literature. Ready Steady Book, 02 May 2010. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.
Natasha Tripney opens her review with the acknowledgment that the significant naming of Theolonious Ellison makes a statement from the start of the novel. Tripney points out the frustration Monk has for the lack of acceptance of his Greek myths and the vast success of ghetto fiction. Erasure, a novel filled with anger, aims to target America’s thirst for a specific type of African American Lit and believes that My Pafology is a “written admission of defeat” and written in desperation. The “novella within a novel” style interests Tripney and she notices that Monk’s world has become bleak after the completion of My Pafology. Keeping in mind the themes of erasure and invisibility, Tripney discovers that a parallel between Monk and Stagg is set up; as Stagg gains success in the literary world, Monk fades into the background and is not able to enjoy the success of a well known book.