Free Burning (2006) "Play like they do on The Wire ," spits the experienced buyer as a drug deal goes down in Bayo Ojikutu's new novel, Free Burning… 2006-10-03 Fiction Three Rivers Press
Book Review

Free Burning (2006)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: Oct 03, 2006; Writer: Bayo Ojikutu; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Three Rivers Press

''Play like they do on The Wire,'' spits the experienced buyer as a drug deal goes down in Bayo Ojikutu's new novel, Free Burning. The dealer — and the book's mind-wandering narrator — is a college-educated, unemployed black man in Chicago. Tagged a ''square'' by hardcore thugs around him, he goes deeper into the world of drugs and corruption, though he pulls back and narrowly avoids being swallowed up in his virulent neighborhood. The reference to HBO's crime drama (at the height of its zeitgeist moment, no less) couldn't be more on point. Told in a blurry, memoir-like fashion, Ojikutu's unapologetic story is a dialogue-heavy meditation on desperation and drugs.

Originally posted Sep 29, 2006 Published in issue #900 Oct 06, 2006 Order article reprints