ANYONE WHO'S READ ka-os|theory before will already know my feelings on racial separatism in the SGL community.

So what to make of a book that doesn't feature any white characters at all; a book written by an African-American, wholly comprised of African-Americans, for African-Americans? A big no-no, right? Another cluster bomb in the camp for a progressive, inclusive society?

Well no, because Stanley Bennett Clay's novel isn't actually about race; it isn't about Caucasians or Pakistanis, or what Mr. White did to Mr. Black. What Looker is about is rich, sexy black folk getting up in each other's business - and it's loud and proud about it.

Of equal importantance is the fact that whilst Looker may be a black gay novel for a black gay audience, it's one that's totally devoid of the kind of divisive racial hatred spewed forth by James Earl Hardy and his ilk.

There isn't a single white character in Looker's impressive cast of characters, but so what? As I've argued previously (albeit, on the subject of porn) we don't need to be all up in each other's business all the time. Just don't use your platform to spread hate.

I mention all of this only in light of the recent debate, sparked by yours truly, on the subject of racial separatism in the SGL community. A lack of clarity on my part led to an assumption that I was saying there shouldn't be blogs that exclusively address the black gay community (which isn't true), and around this time I was reading Looker. It illustrates perfectly the point I really wanted to make: pro-black doesn't have to be anti-white.

Now don't get me wrong, Looker isn't a dry political diatribe. It's anything but.

What Looker is, is a damn good yarn. This is storytelling 101. Looker has more plot, twists, turns, eyebrow-raising shocks, incident and narrative thrills than an entire season of Lost. Clay introduces a huge cast in rapid succession, something that takes some adjusting to. Concentrate now: successful lawyer Brando and Omar are best friends, Omar is neighbours with alcoholic wife of a councilman Selma Fant, whose son is transgender Earl-Anthony; Jeanette and Clymenthia are the dyke couple who're closely affiliated to Omar... To say nothing of the thug prince and the track star. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Looker might be a great novel just for it's thrilling plot and the characters we invest in and care about. But Clay has one further trick up his sleeve: he can write sex. Boy, can he write sex. I'd quote a line or two here, but I'm wary of lawsuits for causing overheated motherboards.

Looker is a joy; it's intricate, utterly brilliant and very, very sexy.


taylorSiluwé.com ..... said...

I'm a huge Clay fan. Ever since I picked up 'In Search of Pretty Young Black Men' (the title alone grabbed me, and also inspired the title of my short, Pretty Young Gangsters), I've been entralled by Clay's smooth, sexy and lyrical writing style.

I gave Looker 5-stars, and eagerly await the next Clay tome.

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