Thomas M. Gannon
David Bradley gambled that he could work the historical experience of black people in this country into a successful novel without writing a conventional historical novel. As it turns out, Bradley lost his gamble, for The Chaneysville Incident is not successful, at least not as a novel. Too much of it is thinly disguised history, rather than deeply felt, imaginatively transformed experience….
Bradley filters his historical material through the consciousness of the novel's narrator, a 30-ish black historian named John Washington…. The novel's principal action is Washington's … immersion in his family's history in an attempt to solve the mystery of his father's suicide and complete the...
(The entire section is 443 words.)