Claude McKay's Lost Novel
Review of Amiable with Big Teeth; Against the Current vol. 192

McTaggart, Ted

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  28/01/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23266

Review of Amiable with Big Teeth, a novel by the African-American revolutionary activist and writer Claude McKay.




Organizational questions of Harlem's Ethiopia solidarity movement play a central role in McKay's telling, making the novel's early chapters in particular somewhat difficult to follow. It opens with a rally by the fictionalized "Hands to Ethiopia" committee to welcome Lij Tekla Alamaya, an envoy from Ethiopia, ostensibly sent as a representative of the exiled emperor Haile Selasse.

Following the demonstration, an organizing meeting for the committee is used to introduce the key characters and expound upon the conflicts that lead to the movement's subsequent split. Against Communist Party member Newton Castle’s charges of "black chauvinism," committee chairman Pablo Peixota defends the mass sentiment that had led the "Hands to Ethiopia" to oppose inclusion of whites.

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