Recommended By ... | Arts Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Recommended By ... 

Barbara Solow recommends Honky, by Dalton Conley (Vintage Books, 207 pp., $12 pb.)

Dalton Conley's moving and often hilarious memoir of his New York City boyhood sets out to explain how and why his growing up was not that of "your typical middle-class white male." His artist parents had no money, so the family wound up living in a mostly black and Latino public housing project on Avenue D. There, Conley's status was turned on its head: As a white child, he was the minority longing for acceptance, the one distanced from his own culture by the non-white majority.He puts that distance to good use. "I've studied whiteness the way I would a foreign language," Conley writes. "I know the subtleties of its idioms, its vernacular, words and phrases to which the native speaker has never given a second thought."

In another writer's hands, a book about a childhood that was "like a social science experiment" could easily become boring or didactic. But Conley's talents as a storyteller make Honky an extraordinary page-turner. From his early attempts to secure a black sibling, to his anguished double life as a student in mostly white schools (though poor, his parents still knew how to work the system), the narrative moves at a subway express-car pace. His refusal to turn away from the injuries of race and class--even the ones that he inflicts--make Honky well worth reading. EndBlock Barbara Solow is the managing editor of The Independent Weekly.

More by Barbara Solow

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

Many thanks for the review, Chris Vitiello. There are two things I would like to clarify as the exhibition curator. …

by L Turner on In Versus, This Year's Crop of UNC Studio Art MFA Graduates Take a Long View of Immediate Crises (Arts Feature)

Most Recent Comments

Many thanks for the review, Chris Vitiello. There are two things I would like to clarify as the exhibition curator. …

by L Turner on In Versus, This Year's Crop of UNC Studio Art MFA Graduates Take a Long View of Immediate Crises (Arts Feature)

Great article , very well written which made the article more exciting …

by Linwood McNeill on You Are Here, NCMA’s Immersive Experience in Light and Sound, Tempers Wild Extravagance with Themes of Sacred, Shared Humanity (Arts Feature)

"In the eighties, Kevin Eastman set out for a modest career in underground comics, which is a reasonable goal when …

by Daniel Gregory on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cocreator Kevin Eastman Went for a Modest Underground Comics Career. He Started an Independent Pop-Culture Dynasty Instead. (Arts Feature)

Tim is an outstanding person all around!

by 3ZKL on Tim Walter’s Long Effort to Give Downtown Durham a Venue It Needed Pays Off in the Nick of Time (Arts Feature)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation