Catching Catfish Barehanded

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Tomb of the Unknown Racist
by Blanche McCrary Boyd
Counterpoint.  280 pages, $26.

 

A   MYSTERY inside a character study masquerading as a sexual shell game, Tomb of the Unknown Racist, by Blanche McCrary Boyd, is byzantine, delightful, and terrifying. The novel’s who-done-it thread unwinds from South Carolina to New Mexico to Washington and back again, but it is the subject matter—which includes regionalism, the challenged American intellect, and White Power militants slithering Gollum-like to the surface of the melting pot—that makes us take notice. While the novel is raucous, funny, and intriguing, it has frightening echoes of the post-November 2016 zeitgeist.

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