A review of

I, Wabenzi

by Rafi Zabor

Central question: Where do you lay the chips when the game is about to end?
Format: 480 pp., cloth; Size: 6” x 9”; Price: $26.00; Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux; Editor: Lorin Stein; Book designer: Abby Kagan; Jacket designer: Lynn Buckley; Typeface: Janson; While writing book, author listened to: Beethoven, John Coltrane, Debussy, Ravel, Sibelius, Shostakovich; Author plays: jazz drums; Representative fragment: “God’s own hipster on the shadowland of earth with no fear of fire and in love with the light behind the puppets, the world outside the cave, and the rhythm of the whole show as it moved from light to dark and again to light.”

Here is an autobiography that is as wary of its subject matter as a veteran submitting to the questions of a gore-besotted grandchild, a book that dangles mystical lights in front of the eyes, but flicks them off before the eyes can adjust to an irregular spectrum. I, Wabenzi, the first of a projected four volumes by Rafi Zabor—PEN/Faulkner award–winning author, peripatetic mystic, drummer and jazz critic—expends a great deal of energy trying to get its subject’s literary and spiritual selves to synch up.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—Christopher Byrd

Christopher Byrd is a frequent contributor to the magazine.

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