“Deacon King Kong” by James McBride Wednesday,
Discussion Leader: Linda Lidestri
by Tom Holehan
Public Relations & Programming at the Stratford Public Library
On Wednesday, February 24 th at Noon on Zoom the Stratford Library will present “Deacon King Kong” by James McBride as part of their Books Over Coffee presentations. The event is free and open to the Public.
The discussion leader will be Linda Lidestri. For further information, call the Library at: 203-385-4162
One of Barack Obama’s “Favorite Books of the Year”, Oprah’s Book Club Named it one of the Top Ten Books of the Year, as did the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and TIME Magazine.
James McBride examines an inexplicable act of violence, and the tangled threads of the story behind it. “Deacon King Kong”, set in Brooklyn, in what appears to be a fictionalized version of the Brooklyn housing project where McBride grew up, is crowded with characters whose backstories are crowded with more characters, all of their fates connected, in ways they know about and in ways they don’t. It’s a world where isolation seems like vanity; where one’s intimate business is usually, somehow, everyone else’s business, too; where even the attempted murder that begins the novel takes place in front of sixteen witnesses, many of whom know both shooter and victim personally.
“Deacon King Kong” is a nickname on top of a nickname: everyone in the Cause Houses knows the title character as Sportcoat. He is indeed a deacon, serving at the local Five Ends Baptist Church (though one of the novel’s running jokes is that no one quite knows what a deacon’s duties are, or how a man gets to be one), and he used to be the coach of the Cause’s youth baseball team. Now he spends his days doing the occasional odd job and, primarily, drinking. King Kong is the name of the home brew he favors. It is September, 1969, during what will prove a miraculous season for baseball fans in the city, and Sportcoat, seventy-one years of age, is equally in need of divine intervention, as he reels from the death of his wife.