Neither Black nor White yet Both:
Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature

by Werner Sollors,
592 pages,
ISBN: 019505282X

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First Novels - Ontarian Safari
by Eva Tihanyi

Finally, this month, there's It's Neither Black Nor White, Charlie Brown (India Book Distributors, 414 pages, price unknown, paper), by Mir Raza Alikhan. Right from its opening pages, this overwritten, pedantic novel calls to mind Ayn Rand: painfully long-winded, selfconsciously intellectual. The characters don't talk; they pontificate in perfectly formed paragraphs on just about everything, including racism, gambling, police brutality, aging, sexuality, shopping malls, drug abuse, religion, and taxes.

The main story-line revolves around Krish Kalaf, who is fifty-four years old, a depressed, almost broke inventor working as a carpet salesman in Toronto. His best friend, Charles Brown (Charlie to his friends), an enormously wealthy man almost too good to be true (intelligent, generous, kind, articulate, moral, and even wise), has inherited a stone relic and hires Krish to decipher the inscription on it. Miraculously, Krish manages to solve the riddle-over three hundred years old-in three travel-packed weeks. There are a number of sub-plots as well, the overall result being a convoluted story so far-fetched it strains credibility.


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