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Title: Dark
Author: Jasper, Kenji
Publisher: Broadway Books, New York
Copyright: 2001
ISSN/ISBN: 767907078

In a new twist on the growing genre of "thug noir," Jasper tells the poignant story of 19-year-old Thai Williams, whose life is turned upside down when he kills a rival for his girl's affections after walking in on the two in bed together. A resident of the infamous Shaw neighborhood in Washington, D.C., Thai is considered the intellectual in a foursome of young black men. The other three are Enrique, the blessed one; Ray Ray, the loco; and Snowflake, the hoodlum. Leaving behind his government job and plans for college, Thai flees to Charlotte, N.C., to hide out in an apartment provided by one of his friends. In terse, fluid prose, Jasper paints effortless, three-dimensional portraits of all of the key players. Set against the backdrop of the young African-American communities in both D.C. and Charlotte, the book addresses critical issues without preaching. What sets this novel apart are the high quality of the writing and the carefully developed themes of responsibility and redemption; each person Thai meets during his flight from the law brings him closer to emotional maturity. Jasper's engrossing debut evades stereotype, zeroing in with style and substance on what it takes to not only survive but to thrive as a young black man in the killing streets of the inner city.

Language: English
Pages: 242
Copies at the Archive: 5

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