peteg's blog

Gil Scott Heron: The Vulture

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Gil Scott Heron is a master of the short form, and every so often this novel sets off a keen observation with a sparky jag. It's something of a murder / mystery /Trainspotting-ish / real-life set in the projects of New York City in the late 1960s, but not the overall triumph the author thought he had when he hit the pause button on school to write it at age 20. It's more dealing than using, amongst the Blacks and Puerto Ricans, and sometimes the prose has the rawness of a first draft. He doesn't imbue his women with much character. Dropping the phonetics of the hood on the page doesn't add much, and there is some severely trying polemical poetry somewhere close to the end. The earlier Black politics comes off better though the events seem to avoid The Man's causality.