Jenny Turner

  • High Cotton by Darryl Pinckney
    Faber, 295 pp, £14.99, August 1992, ISBN 0 571 16491 9

Darryl Pinckney is a black American man of about thirty-eight who lives at present in Berlin. Up until now, he has been best-known as a literary critic. Although he comes originally, I believe, from Indianapolis, you wouldn’t know it from his mini-biog on the book-jacket, which, as American ones often do, just mentions a string of prestigious-sounding scholarships and grants instead. This, however, could well be part of Pinckney’s strategy. For his book is all about the attempt of a young black man to define himself, not according to roots or background, but as an autonomous agent on the stateless terrain of the free-floating émigré intellectual.

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