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A Particular Kind of Black Man

by Tope Folarin

A young Nigerian living in Utah describes his growth into adulthood, his insecurity and the feeling of not belonging after his schizophrenic mother leaves him. Particularly the scenes with Tunde's mother touched me. She is unpredictable and abuses him but he tells no one. His stepmother is friendly but looks at him differently than at the other kids. He feels utterly lonely. But he learns to deal with it, he finds love and that offered me hope.

Extract

And of course I'm questioning everything now. Yesterday I decided to read this entire document for the first time in a long time, and as I read I realized that I'd forgotten much of what I'd written. And though some of it rings true (I never thought I ‘d be relieved that I remember- in vivid, frightening detail- the moment when my mom became sick) many details seem off-kilter. For example, I remember a different version of my stepmother and stepbrothers' arrival in America. And a different version of their departure from our place in Dallas. And there are other things that I simply can't recall. Like my stepmother giving me a CD player. Or the Hartville City Fair. When I close my eyes and think back to that period I remember that we called city hall countless times that summer, that Dad even enlisted a few of his customers to call on our behalf, but that the city ultimately refused to grant him a vendor's license. What I remember is that Dad was livid for many months afterward, and that we eventually moved to Texas because Dad was convinced that, as he put it, he would never be anything more than a nigger in Utah.

Parallels

Kafka on the Beach by Haruki Murakami
 

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