By Kevin Young
Graywolf Press, $25.00, 483 pages
Art can be distracting when it comes to talking about art. The Grey Album looks at the contributions of black culture, and the importance of those contributions when it comes to defining black culture itself. It covers the history, both oral and written, of black culture and how it has impacted not only culture in general, but history as well. This book is best described as a 72-ounce steak; it makes for a delicious meal, but it may be too much at one sitting.
Young is a poet, and it shows in his writing. The problem is that it sometimes proves to be distracting; he uses snippets of songs and poems in order to bring home a point, but it can prove distracting as you try to determine what the snippet has to do with what you are reading. Otherwise, this is an incredibly informative book, and even reading through the notes is highly recommended, as they are filled with all sorts of fun information. This is an important book, especially for those looking to see how one group has had an effect well out of proportion for their size. Just don’t try to read it in one sitting!
Reviewed by Jamais Jochim