Re: RARA-AVIS: Willeford

Colonell (
Thu, 30 Dec 1999 14:43:24 -0800

> I just finished PICK-UP by Willeford - a very dreary and depressing look
> a couple of life's failures and throwaways. But, still, very
> engrossing...kind of like watching a car wreck. A question, though, for
> those more familiar with Willeford's work than me: the last line of the
> novel, where he announces his race as "Negro". Perhaps I didn't
> the significance of this proclamation...was there more to it than that?
> instant reaction was, "Umm, okay...*and*?" It seemed to have been posed
> an almost O'Henry like twist - yet it didn't seem to me to offer anything
> the book's prior storyline nor cast any new light on what had come before
> it. Did I miss something? Or am I just making too much of what was
> meant as a throwaway last line?
> Ron Clinton
It has been some years since I've read PICK-UP, but the book really "blew me away." I assumed all along that the protagonist was white. That last line put a whole new spin on the book for me. It seemed to be quite a commentary on the vast ramifications of racism. His life was so hopeless, but he never complains or blames prejudice for his problems. But even though he doesn't blame anyone it seems he has suffered terribly and that racism must have played a big part.

R. Colonell

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