Tragic Magic, Hardcover
McSweeney's

Tragic Magic, Hardcover

Regular price $24.00
/
Shipping calculated at checkout.

Only 2 items in stock!

Proceeds from sale of this book have been donated to 826NYC  who offer highly individualized creative writing instruction for over 4,000 young New Yorkers every year. Free programs throughout NYC empower young authors and develop crucial skills they need to thrive in the classroom and beyond.

Tragic Magic is the story of Melvin Ellington, a.k.a. Mouth, a Black, twenty-something, ex-college radical who has just been released from a five-year prison stretch after being a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. Brown structures this first-person tale around Ellington’s first day on the outside. Although hungry for freedom and desperate for female companionship, Ellington is haunted by a past that drives him to make sense of those choices leading up to this day.

Through a filmic series of flashbacks, the novel revisits Ellington’s prison experiences, where he is forced to play the unwilling patsy to the predatory Chilly and the callow pupil of the not-so-predatory Hard knocks; then dips further back to Ellington’s college days, where again he is led astray by the hypnotic militarism of the Black Pantheresque Theo, whose antiwar politics incite the impressionable narrator to oppose his parents and to choose imprisonment over conscription; and finally back to his earliest high school days, where we meet in Otis, the presumed archetype of Ellington’s “tragic magic” relationships with magnetic but dangerous avatars of black masculinity in crisis. But the effect of the novel cannot be conveyed through plot recapitulation alone, for its style is perhaps even more provoking than its subject.

Originally published in 1978, and edited by Toni Morrison during her time at Random House, this Of the Diaspora edition of Tragic Magic features a new introduction by author Wesley Brown.

Praise for Tragic Magic

Tragic Magic is a tremendous affirmation. . One hell of a writer.”
—James Baldwin

“(W)onderfully wry.”
—Donald Barthelme

“Wesley Brown’s Tragic Magic is an underrated classic in the vein of my favorite albums. This is a book worth holding close and hugging hard. There has been much talk about the literary foreparents to hip-hop culture and for my money Brown has to take his place alongside the likes of the Black Arts Movement, The Nuyoricans, Piri Thomas, and Julius Lester. Pick this one up and ride alongside a masterful storyteller.”
—Nate Marshall, author of Finna: Poems


“A prescient ancestor to today’s insurgent, boundary-breaching African American fiction… deserves rediscovery by a new generation of readers curious about where an earlier generation of Black protest came from and how they came through its challenges.”
—Kirkus

You can select your shipping preferences during checkout.  We use UPS Ground or Next Day Air and USPS Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. Orders generally ship out within 2 business days of the order being placed.  You will receive an email with tracking information once your order is shipped. 

Shipping Information

You can select your shipping preferences during checkout.  We use UPS Ground or Next Day Air and USPS Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. Orders generally ship out within 2 business days of the order being placed.  You will receive an email with tracking information once your order is shipped. 

Returns

If you're not happy with your item(s) you can request a return within 10 days of purchase for a full refund minus shipping costs. Please email returns@cainsloan.com to initiate the process. 

If your item arrives damaged we will refund you (including shipping costs) or replace the item. 

We want to offer the best possible customer service.  It's important to us that you're happy.  Please talk to us and let us know if there's anything we can do to improve your shopping experience with us. 

Refunds

We will refund damaged or returned items within 10 business days.  Honestly, it will probably be sooner, but sometimes these things take time.