Having already won two influential fans, the Washington Post‘s Ron Charles and the LA Times’ David Ulin, Welcome to Braggsville (HaperCollins/Morrow, Feb. 17; OverDrive Sample) by T. Geronimo Johnson gets the second premiere spot (the first right, after the cover) in the upcoming March 1 NYT Book Review, with another enthusiastic, if slightly mixed, review.
It’s difficult to match the openers of the earlier reviews:
“The most dazzling, most unsettling, most oh-my-God-listen-up novel you’ll read this year is called Welcome to Braggsville.” (Ron Charles, the Washington Post)
“When was the last time you were shocked by a turn in a novel? Not merely surprised or astonished but actually stunned? T. Geronimo Johnson makes it happen twice in his second novel, Welcome to Braggsville.” (David Ulin, the L.A. Times)
The Sunday Book Review begins more obscurely, “If you imagine a satirical The Indian Princess, James Nelson Barker’s 1808 libretto about Pocahontas, or a macabre E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, you might come close to T. Geronimo Johnson’s second novel Welcome to Braggsville.” The reviewer goes on to a requisite NYT BR quibble, complaining that the metaphors and similes weigh the story down in spots and ends, “Organic, plucky, smart, [it] is the funniest sendup of identity politics, the academy and white racial anxiety to hit the scene in years. Recent racial satires like the film Dear White People or Tom Wolfe’s novel Back to Blood fumble to light dead fuses … Johnson, by contrast knows just which dark corners to expose … and how to whirl an affecting yarn all the while.”
An Indie Next pick for February, the book is also getting review attention in local papers, several via the syndicated Associated Press review; “narrative diversions and jazzy prose riffs will frustrate some readers but thrill others, and overall Johnson deftly pokes dark fun at a wide swath of culture, high and low.”
Johnson describes the book in his own words below: