Look For Me and I'll Be Gone

John Edgar Wideman

I was a child and believed that if I stood alone, quiet enough, long enough beside my grandfather’s coffin, he would speak to me.
Look For Me and I'll Be Gone by John Edgar Wideman (Hardback ISBN 9781838855161) book cover

Available as Hardback, eBook

A stunning collection of all new stories from the twice winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award – essential reading for understanding the state of America today

Forty years after John Edgar Wideman’s first book of stories, comes this stunning collection that is vital reading for anyone interested in the state of America today. Its subjects range from Michael Jordan to Emmett Till, from distrust of authority to everyday grief, from childhood memories to the final day in a prison cell.

A boy stands alone in his grandmother’s house, unable to enter the room in which his grandfather’s coffin lies, afraid the dead man may speak, afraid he won’t speak. Freddie Jackson’s song ‘You Are My Lady’ plays on the car radio as a son is brought to a prison cell in Arizona. A narrator contemplates the Atlanta child murders from 1979.

Never satisfied to simply tell a story, Wideman continues to push form, with stories within stories, sentences that rise like a jazz solo with every connecting clause, voices that reflect who he is and where he’s from, and an exploration of time that entangles past and present. Whether historical or contemporary, intimate or expansive, the stories here represent a pioneering American writer whose innovation and imagination know no bounds.

“This is truly inimitable storytelling. No one writes an American horror story like John Edgar Wideman”

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“A book that demands and deserves attention”

“Wideman’s stories have a wary, brooding spirit, a lonely intelligence. They carry a real but atrophied affection for America. He airs the problems of consciousness, including the fragile contingency of our existence”
Dwight Garner
new York Times On You Made Me Love You

”Praise for American Histories: The stories in American Histories read like an immense jazz riff … The acutely immersive world of American Histories is irresistible, and these profoundly moving stories will haunt you long after you’ve finished reading”

“Wideman’s rage against American injustice and racial prejudice burns magma-hot in his latest short stories … Immensely powerful … Challenging, animating, enlivening and electrifying; it does what literature should do. It’s a bruising experience that leaves you feeling vulnerable and excited and alive”

John Edgar Wideman

John Edgar Wideman’s books include, among others, American Histories, Writing to Save a Life, Philadelphia Fire and Brothers and Keepers. He won the PEN/Faulkner Award twice, won the Prix Femina Étranger, and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award. He is a MacArthur Fellow and a recipient of the Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. He divides his time between New York and France.