O, AFRICA!

By Andrew Lewis Conn

Literary fiction, Historical fiction, Action & adventure, Comedy & satire | Hardback, eBook


In the summer of 1928, twin brothers Micah and Izzy Grand are at the pinnacle of their movie-making careers. From their roots as sons of Brooklyn immigrants, they have risen to become kings of silent comedy – with the brash, bloviating Micah directing and calling the shots, while his retreating brother skillfully works behind the lens. But when Micah’s penchant for gambling, and his interracial affair with Rose, a sharp-witted, light-skinned black woman from Harlem, combine to threaten his livelihood and his life, he finds himself in need of a quick escape. As the ascent of the talkies looms on the horizon, the brothers’ producer offers them an opportunity that couldn’t be better timed: travel to Africa to compile stock footage of the exotic locales, as well as filming a new comedy in the jungle. Together with an unlikely crew of producers, stars and hangers-on, the Grands set out for Malwiki, where among the tribesmen they each discover unforeseen truths about themselves, their lovers, and the meaning of the movies. Moving from the piers of Coney Island to Africa’s veld, and further to the glitter of early Hollywood, O, Africa! is an epic tale of self-discovery, the constraints of history and prejudice, and the stubborn resolve of family and friendship in the face of tragedy.


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In the summer of 1928, twin brothers Micah and Izzy Grand are at the pinnacle of their movie-making careers. From their roots as sons of Brooklyn immigrants, they have risen to become kings of silent comedy – with the brash, bloviating Micah directing and calling the shots, while his retreating brother skillfully works behind the lens. But when Micah’s penchant for gambling, and his interracial affair with Rose, a sharp-witted, light-skinned black woman from Harlem, combine to threaten his livelihood and his life, he finds himself in need of a quick escape. As the ascent of the talkies looms on the horizon, the brothers’ producer offers them an opportunity that couldn’t be better timed: travel to Africa to compile stock footage of the exotic locales, as well as filming a new comedy in ...


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Andrew Lewis Conn is the critically acclaimed author of the novels O, AFRICA! and P. He has also written essays, short fiction, and reviews on subjects ranging from James Joyce to Martin Scorsese, Bob Dylan to Sherlock Holmes. Praise for Conn’s second novel, O, AFRICA! (2014, Hogarth/Crown) includes an endorsement from author Gary Shteyngart: Andrew Lewis Conn has written a strange, cool, hilarious, and oddly moving masterpiece. O, AFRICA! is a thing of wonder. In a starred review Kirkus described the book as: …[a] wildly ambitious and entertaining novel that manages to be both slapstick and deeply tragic…. As a tale of two continents during a period of significant upheaval, this audacious novel encompasses not merely the essence of America and the art of moviemaking, but the nature of time. To bring this full circle, maybe the Coen brothers could adapt the vision of the Grand brothers for the big screen. Conn’s first novel, P (Soft Skull Press, 2003) received widespread critical and reader acclaim, including a Kirkus starred review and selection as one of the summer’s best books by Nerve, The Oregonian, Salon, and Time Out New York; one of the best books of the year by The Austin Chronicle and The Village Voice; and long-listed as “one of the best books of the millennium (so far!)” by The Millions. Garnering reviews as far afield as The Jerusalem Post, P was also translated and published in Greece and Brazil. Thomas Kelly said: With P, Andrew Lewis Conn explodes on the literary scene. This is a first novel that is hilarious yet haunting, clever yet profound. Pis a work of imagination and skill that also manages to be one of the best New York stories ever told. Conn has written essays, short fiction, and reviews for The Believer, The Fanzine, Film Comment, The Indiana Review, and The Village Voice, among other publications, and from 2000-2005 Conn served as a film critic for Time Out New York. “The Bad Review Happiness Deserves, Or: The Tyranny of Critic-Proof Movies,” Conn’s Film Comment essay about the film Happiness, was singled out by Charles Taylor in “Salon Salutes,” and DEJA.com as “the best piece of film writing of the year.” Conn’s short story, “The Man With the Cigar,” appeared with stories from Jonathan Lethem, Rick Moody, Sam Lipsyte, Aimee Bender, and others in The Flash, a fiction anthology published in 2007 to benefit Amnesty International. Conn has been a resident at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs and the Ledig House International Writers’ Colony in Hudson, New York. He also has participated in the National Arts Club’s writing program to support New York City public schools and PEN Center USA’s Summer Writing Institute Workshop, a program provided on a scholarship basis to New York City teenagers living in underserved communities. Conn currently serves as a member of the Young Professional Committee of the YMCA of Greater New York. A Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Cornell University, where he double-majored in English and Film Studies, Conn attended Mark Twain Intermediate School for the Gifted and Talented in Coney Island and Stuyvesant High School. Intensely loyal to his native Brooklyn, Conn lives in Park Slope with his wife, daughter, and their twenty-year-old turtle, Marty.


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Andrew Lewis Conn is the critically acclaimed author of the novels O, AFRICA! and P. He has also written essays, short fiction, and reviews on subjects ranging from James Joyce to Martin Scorsese, Bob Dylan to Sherlock Holmes. Praise for Conn’s second novel, O, AFRICA! (2014, Hogarth/Crown) includes an endorsement from author Gary Shteyngart: Andrew Lewis Conn has written a strange, cool, hilari...


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