Rendered Invisible: Stories of Blacks and Whites, Love and Death
Frank E. Dobson
In entrancing prose that claims a place with writers as powerful as Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and John Edgar Wideman, Frank Dobson offers his own bold, subtle explorations of race and life in America. I sat down to skim a bit of his new book of stories, and ended up reading its central novella straight through. This narrative of the .22-Caliber killings in Buffalo - little known to most Americans-and the lives of blacks and whites caught up in those tense days makes for suspenseful, compelling reading.
Poet, professor, Bluffton University
"Thirteen dead black men, and nobody knows it happened," so says Johnny Smith, who sets out on a quest to make things right in the powerful novella that begins this collection - a masterpiece of collaged voices. Voice is urgent and significant--Dobson focuses throughout on the invisible and the unvoiced-he brings them to center stage, where they speak their pain and frustration. "Maybe we can revise history," one of his characters says; Dobson's book does just that.
Novelist, professor, Case Western University
I'm reminded here of the phrase from Percy Mayfield's classic: the danger zone is everywhere. All in all, it's an important story rooted clearly in an earlier moment, but connecting those issues to urgent ones in the present.
John McCluskey, Indiana University
Author of Mr. America's Last Season Blues
Rendered Invisible is a beautiful piece of writing. It is an important book, a work of genius. The stories that end the book are wonderful with fascinating characters enmeshed in circumstances that compel and delight. But the coup de grace is the novella, Rendered Invisible, in which he tells us in fictional form the true story of the random murders of a string of black men in the early 80’s in Buffalo, New York. I was deeply moved, and I am convinced that Dobson belongs in the ranks of the best of living American writers.
Jimmy Chesire, Wright State University
Author of Home Boy
In Rendered Invisible, Frank Dobson does what the best writers do — he makes us look outward and upward while gazing deeply back and down inside ourselves.
Colin Channer, Wellesley College
Author of Waiting in Vain
150 pages, $14.95
Fiction: Literary, African American-General, Short Stories