Episode 50 - James McBride
James McBride's Deacon King Kong made me laugh out loud. I can't remember the last time that happened while I was reading.
James, who is also a very accomplished musician, has had an incredibly successful career as a writer. He received a National Book Award for his New York Times best seller, The Good Lord Bird. His memoir, The Color of Water, has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. His latest work, Deacon King Kong, is also a best seller and an Oprah Book Club pick.
The novel is set in 1969 in a housing project in South Brooklyn. It's about Cuffy Lambkin, a faithful deacon at his church who is also a raging alcoholic. Nearly everyone calls him Sportcoat, but a few call him Deacon King Kong. King Kong is the name of his favorite moonshine. One day out of the blue, Sportcoat walks up to a young drug dealer who works in the projects and shoots him in front of several witnesses. The shooting sets off a long chain of events that rock his community and reverberate outside of it as well.
James and I discussed the people he enjoys writing about, his faith, and why the death of Breonna Taylor hit him so hard.
- why he prefers to write about love rather than hate
- the connection between his musicality and his writing
- what he hoped to accomplish by featuring a small, neighborhood church so prominently in the novel
During our interview, James heaped a lot of praise on the writer who's been on our show more than any other. We'll send a free copy of Deacon King Kong to the first person to reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook to tell us the writer's name.
If you have a won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you are ineligible for this giveaway. Or, if you and I ever stayed up late discussing books and writing styles after a long day at Antioch, you're probably ineligible. ReadMore does not have a friends and family plan! But we'll always have those beach house memories.