Ta-Nehisi Coates Makes His Fiction Debut

Dwight Garner at the NYT:

Coates doesn’t linger on the gruesome realities of slavery. There are no extended scenes of abuse. His novel increasingly begins to bend toward the motifs and impulses of the comic book and superhero world. “A power was within me,” Hiram says, “but with no thought of how to access it or control it, I was lost.” He seeks a mentor. She is called Moses. Others know her by the name Harriet Tubman, who in this novel is not merely the abolitionist who made daring missions to rescue enslaved people but a woman known to some as “the living master of Conduction.”

Hiram and Tubman go for a walk in Philadelphia. Tubman begins to glow a “pale spectral green” and together they hover above the Delaware River. Tubman teaches him that a great ability is within him, that “memory is the chariot, and memory is the way, and memory is bridge from the curse of slavery to the boon of freedom.”

more here.