Posted By trish on November 5, 2011
• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Atria Books (November 15, 2011)
A stunning debut historical noir novel about a worker in the civil rights movement who became an informant for the FBI during the months leading up to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Feeling unappreciated and overlooked, John Estem, a bookkeeper for Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), steals ten thousand dollars from the organization.
To the bookkeeper’s dismay, the FBI has been keeping close tabs on Dr. King and his fellow activists—including Estem—for years. FBI agents tell Estem that it is his duty, as an American and as a civil rights supporter, to protect the SCLC from communist infiltration.
Playing informant empowers Estem, but he soon learns that his job is not simply to relay information on the organization. The FBI discovers evidence of King’s sexual infidelities, and set out to undermine King’s credibility as a moral leader.
This timely novel comes in light of recent revelations that government informants had infiltrated numerous black movement organizations. With historical facts at the core of Our Man in the Dark, Harrison uses real life as a great inspiration for his drama-filled art.
“Our Man in the Dark is an amazing story, amazingly told. Intrigue and sadness, race and Government, Dr. King and the FBI, foibles and loyalties — this is an ambitious novel that wraps its powerful arms around what it means to be an American. Bold, rhapsodic, and daring, Rashad Harrison has written a morally-engaged masterpiece.”–Darin Strauss, author of Chang & Eng, The Real McCoy, and the National Book Critics Circle Award winning memoir Half a Life
“…[Our Man in the Dark] explores the volatility of social change and the frailties of the human condition when enacting it. Harrison successfully demonstrates that fiction can use the past to comment on issues of contemporary concern. VERDICT: An entertaining work of historical fiction with a touch of the noir; readers who enjoyed Don DeLillo’s Libra will appreciate.” —Library Journal
“…King is beautifully drawn as a questioning, vulnerable, lonely man consumed with his cause…. The dark conclusion descends into powerful moral ambivalence about love, loyalty and family. Harrison’s debut novel contemplates a nightmare inside a dream.” —Kirkus Reviews
Rashad Harrison has been a contributor to MedicineAgency.com, an online journal of political and cultural commentary, and his writing has appeared in Reed magazine. As a Jacob K. Javits Fellow, he earned a Master of Fine of Arts in Creative Writing from New York University. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Rashad’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, January 3rd: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, January 4th: Life In Review
Thursday, January 5th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Monday, January 9th: Wordsmithonia
Tuesday, January 10th: Sidewalk Shoes
Wednesday, January 11th: Broken Teepee
Thursday, January 12th: Ted Lehmann’s Bluegrass, Books, and Brainstorms
Monday, January 16th: “That’s Swell!”
Tuesday, January 17th: Reads for Pleasure
Monday, January 23rd: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, January 26th: Layers of Thought
Thursday, January 26th: A Bookish Affair
Friday, January 27th: Joyfully Retired
Saturday, January 28th: Reflections of a Bookaholic