Shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award. Another thought-provoking novel from an author who has been longlisted for the Man Booker and previously shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award. The Ballad of Lee Cotton is an entertaining romp through 1950s pre-civil rights America. Born to a black Southern mother and an Icelandic father, Lee Cotton is black but with white skin, blue eyes and blond hair, resulting in much confusion besides the usual adolescent angst. When he is troubled about whether to sit at the back of the bus (with black people) or at the front (with white people) his Mama tells him "best walk". Funny, original and full of surprises.
From his Icelandic father Lee Cotton gets his marble skin and blue eyes. From his mixed-race mother he gains his black identity. From his Mambo grandmother he inherits forebodings about his future. It's a combination that sets Lee apart from the other black kids growing up in Eureka, Mississippi. It marks Lee out as slightly odd. And very white.
If childhood was confusing, adolescence proves life changing when Lee falls in love with the sublime Angelina. It's also life threatening: Angel's father is a freelance shooter for the Klan, who doesn't take kindly to his daughter's boyfriend.
An act of appalling violence leaves Lee far from home with a new identity, a draft card, a memory that operates in flashback and a mental illness that makes him a sort of genius. He also has a reputation, back home, for being dead. Nobody (except possibly his grandmother) could envisage that Lee's rebirth is a headstart and not a handicap. His role in a quite remarkable journey through life will be to transform others as he has transformed himselfâ€¦
Publication date: 05/05/2005
Publisher: Time Warner Books
|Publication date:||5th May 2005|
|Publisher:||Time Warner Books|
Christopher Wilson has been longlisted for The Booker Prize (BLUEGLASS) and shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award (MISCHIEF). He is a semiotician (advises companies on the language they use to advertise themselves). He did a PHD on jokes at the LSE.More About Christopher Wilson