Abby West
September 03, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Soul City

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Toure
publisher
Little, Brown and Company
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

The protagonist of Soul City, Cadillac Jackson, may struggle to pay tribute to Touré’s magical titular city, but the author has no such problems. He lyrically describes a place where men walk with ”such visible rhythm, physical artistry, and attention to aesthetics that it looked like a pimp-stroll convention.” Music comes out of sidewalks, death wants a PR rep, and trips to heaven or hell (and back again) are possible here. But even a fictional promised land for black folks is no utopia: Soul City has drugs, the projects, and, as always, the Man. And while Cadillac’s journey from outsider to member isn’t always clear, what is clear is the book’s central question: ”Cain’t ugly be beautiful?”

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