Sunday, 29 January 2012

So When You Blow Up I Can Pretend I Was An Integral Part Of The Process

A friend of mine has just released his first book Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist.

I've been following Loco for a while over at his blog, Loco in Yokohama. Through his blog, and our private conversations I've been a privileged witness to the development of the ideas that were to make it into his book.

The book is a memoir of sorts that takes one through the author's experience of black consciousness-raising, nationalism, and militancy in 1970s Brooklyn; military service, interracial romance and corporate bigotry in the 80s and 90s; and the idiosyncracies of Japanese attitudes to race in the 00s. It details the author's struggles with the racism he finds out there in the world and, most powerfully, the author's struggles with the racism he finds in himself.

The raw candour and introspection throughout are the things I like most about the book, and the author. There's a magic to the flow of the narrative that compels you to turn the pages. Each episode in the author's life and their impacts are described vividly, with humour and pathos. There are many gems to choose from but I think the outstanding episodes were those concerning, Aiko - a former lover, taken by cancer - and White Boy Chris. 

At the same time I found the introduction lacking the same kind of power as the main text, and the flow of the narrative breaking down in the transition to snapshots of the author's experiences as a teacher in Japan. However I felt the book ended strongly with an interesting conclusion that works as a nice close to themes opened up in the first chapter. I finished the book both with a smile and a small measure of regret that there wasn't more to read.

Loco. Well done! I know it was a long, hard road, putting together your opus. I hope to see many more.

The book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. Kindle version HERE.