BROTHER AND THE DANCER
Winner of the 2012 James D. Houston award, Keenan Norris's first novel is a beautiful, gritty, coming-of-age tale about two young african americans in the San Bernardino valley—a story of exceptional power, lyricism, and depth. Erycha and Touissant live only a few miles apart in the city of Highland, but their worlds are starkly separated by the lines of class, violence, and history. in alternating chapters that touch and intertwine only briefly, brother and the dancer follows their adolescence and young adulthood on two sides of the city, the luminous San Bernardino range casting its hot shade over their separate tales in an unflinching vision of black life in Southern California.
"Read Keenan Norris, an important new American writer. His Brother and the Dancer delivers everything we want from a first novel: a story we've never read before, a world we've never quite known, a vision we're unfamiliar with. And yet it gives us something more, too, and just as exciting: the prose of a mature artist, and an understanding of the human heart that would seem nearly impossible in a writer so young. I learned many things from this fine and daring book."
—ANDREW WINER, AUTHOR OF THE MARRIAGE ARTIST
"Using bold narrative strategies, Keenan Norris gives us a first novel that is at once sympathetic and unsettling. Brother and the Dancer is a refreshing signal that fiction in the twenty-first century can still carry the weight of moral imperatives as it mediates chaotic aspects of our heritage. It is most rewarding to savor Norris's remarkable insights."
—JERRY W. WARD JR., AUTHOR OF THE KATRINA PAPERS: A JOURNAL OF TRAUMA AND RECOVERY AND COEDITOR OF THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE