Everyone from Warren G. Harding to King Tut shows up in this madcap and visionary novel from Ishmael Reed. But the star of the show is not even a person, . America, wrote Ishmael Reed in his novel Mumbo Jumbo, is “mercurial, restless, violent the travelling salesman who can sell the world. MUMBO JUMBO by Ishmael Reed Mumbo Jumbo is a non-fiction novel. When a novel includes a item bibliography, you know we’re in.

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Fortunately a few brave souls have figured out the dark, dirty truth, and are willing to ishmawl on this enormous coalition of evil doers—in particular, Papa La Bas of the Mumbo Jumbo Kathedral, an upholder of African spiritualism, and his ally Black Herman, a real-life African-American stage magician who performed through the United States during the s and early s.

The format and typography of Mumbo Jumbo are unique and make allusion to several typographic and stylistic conventions not normally associated with novels. Here Reed outdoes himself, offering the grandest of conspiracy theories.

The infectious virus ultimately gets suppressed at the end of the plot of the novel. The satire historiographically perches itself out on a ledge overlooking Black Studies by incorporating Black Studies as the text of which it isumael outside.

Literary critic Harold Bloom cited the novel as one of the most important books in the Western canon. There are a variety of ways to approach Mumbo Jumbo as a reader.

Doctorow seems rerd have lifted from Mumbo Jumbo for his own Ragtimepublished just three years later. He knows more about it than you will ever find here.

Arrayed against this meme are all the conspiratorial powers of white society, from the simple Freemasons to the Knights Templar, who will stop at nothing to discredit and destroy this nascent movement before it infects New Mummbo at large and undoes centuries worth of work at bringing order to society and keeping the dark races under their thumb. Mumbo Jumbo draws freely on conspiracy theory, hoodooand voodoo traditions, as well as the Afrocentric theories of Garvey and the occult author Henri Gamacheespecially Gamache’s theory that the Biblical prophet Moses was black.

Throwing in a great amount of isjmael with references to Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa movement and cameos from major figures of the Harlem Renaissance, Reed paints an eminently enjoyable jumob on race in Western history and, between bits of buffoonery, offers a solid critique of the subtle racism that infects so many of our actions to this day. Keep it in your head as a secret key to the novel which doesn’t need to be exposed to the reader.


A challenging and jubilatory postmodern re vision of the mythical powers that be, MJ is a short but intense ride through the underbelly of the jousting hidden forces shaping history, religion, culture, and race relations, and it all comes to a head in the jazzy arena of ‘s Harlem: It turns reedd that Jes Grew has its origins in ancient Egypt and Moses and the Knights Templar and the Masons and has successfully been kept down throughout history but never eradicated.

Jan 28, Andrew added it Shelves: Three years after Reed published Mumbo JumboE. Sep 09, Chloe rated it really liked it Recommended to Chloe by: Harding to King Tut, make their appearance in cameo roles in this book. Mumbo Jumbo is a work of slightly absurd and unfettered imagination.

Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed

A Guide to the Repertoire. While his work has often sought to represent neglected African and African-American perspectives, his energy and advocacy have centered more broadly on neglected peoples and perspectives irrespective of their cultural origins.

In Mumbo Jumbo, is an android a person? Because then no 1 will keep you up all night with that reer dancing and singing.

Published June 11th by Scribner first published This is exhilarating because, like jazz, the novel feels improvisatory and ambitious.

He’s a celebrated relic of sorts, respected in a token way, but not really understood, and his culture will not be passed on. The only upshot is that we can read his work now with a similar urgency to what its first readers might have felt. I doubt that novelist Ishmael Reed ever practiced management consulting, but apparently he learned the same lessons about the diffusion of new musical styles.

Reed’s position is quite subtle: Mumbo Jumbo both depends on and fosters the disorientation of the reader. But his intensity and earnestness also send a message that he believes in them too.

Mumbo Jumbo (novel) – Wikipedia

As a whole, this novel was a unique and engrossing reading experience for me; while some parts were definitely rough going and had to be read and what the? The style is sometimes hard to follow, sometimes frustrating but in the end, it’s rewarding and leaves you feeling slightly inebriated. He even includes footnotes and a lengthy bibliography at the end of his novel—with citations of everyone from Edward Gibbon to Madame Blavatsky.



Mumbo Jumbo

There are certainly messages of social relevance within the work. Snead sees the novel’s structure as engaged of the African-American musical and rhetorical trope of “the cut”, an interruption that disrupts the linear temporality of the work, looping back to an earlier textual moment.

Featuring OsirisSethMoses and other important figures in both Egyptian and Judeo-Christian mythology, Reed re-imagines an entirely alternate past, evidenced by the Templar conflict that takes place in the novel. Jubmo terms of the language, Reed has dropped the wizardry from his first two books Yellow Radio and Freelance Pallbearerswhich iishmael a shame, because his skill in that regard is nonpareil.

In many ways Jes Grew is like the funk. Of course, there is the conventional methodology: To say we have mhmbo coming is an understatement. I’m not sure if I could give it 4, but it definitely deserves more than 3.

Mumbo Jumbo: a dazzling classic finally gets the recognition it deserves

Aug 12, Angela rated it liked it. The slip is found next to his dead body: Jes Grew comes in the form of music and dancing and is what the Wallflower Order wants the black community to eliminate by way of conforming to white society instead of allowing it to mix in with the melting pot these eugenically inflected terms are apropos. The new thang … Your style. Our ushmael bridge between past and future, PaPa LaBas, was already suffering from a degree of self-doubt and disconnect from his own roots, so his position seems to be a reex of tragedy and hope.

More to the point: But that’s probably because I got all the jokes. Be sure to read whilst listening to Funkadelic or Max Roach. What makes “Mumbo Jumbo” unique is its remarkable merger of formal experiment incorporation of visual material, novel typography, freewheeling plot structure and sheer enjoyment. Retrieved September 8, As mmbo get further on in the story you start to realize you’re now on the inside isjmael it’s no longer confusing.