Mansbach, Adam 1976–
Mansbach, Adam 1976–
PERSONAL: Born 1976. Education: Columbia University, B.A. (cum laude), 1998, M.F.A. 2000.
CAREER: San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, faculty member, 2006–. Teacher of writing workshops; artistic consultant to Columbia University's Center for Jazz Studies; guest speaker on race, literature, and music at various venues, including Princetown Fine Arts Work Center, University of California at Santa Cruz, and University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Rapper under stage name Kodiak Brinks.
AWARDS, HONORS: Edgar Allen Poe Award nomination, Mystery Writers of America, 2004, for short story "Crown Heist"; Best Book of 2005 designation, San Francisco Chronicle; PEN/Faulkner Writers in the Schools grant, 2005.
Shackling Water (novel), Doubleday (New York, NY), 2001.
Genius B-Boy Cynics Getting Weeded in the Garden of Delights, Subway & Elevated (Chicago, IL), 2002.
Angry Black White Boy; or, The Miscegenation of Mason Detornay (novel), Three Rivers Press (New York, NY), 2004.
(Lyricist under pseudonym Kodiak Brinks) Stand for Nothing, Fall for Anything (sound recording), 2005.
(Editor, with T. Cooper) A Fictional History of the United States with Huge Chunks Missing (fiction), Akashic Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor of essays and short stories to periodicals and anthologies. Also author, with Douglas McGowan, of screenplay Nature of the Beast. Editor, Elementary (hip-hop journal).
ADAPTATIONS: Angry Black White Boy; or, The Miscegenation of Macon Detornay was scheduled for film production, directed by Adam Bhala Lough.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel, The End of the Jews.
SIDELIGHTS: Adam Mansbach's debut novel, Shackling Water, traces the path of talented young saxophone player Latif James-Pearson as he journeys to New York City in search of his inspiration, musician Albert Van Horn. Latif is a jazz musician trying to make his way in a hip-hop culture. He finds his niche with the established musicians by becoming a petty drug dealer, but this backfires when he becomes addicted himself. A Kirkus Reviews writer found that "Mansbach's skill could have sustained an epic," adding that the book's brevity is a weakness. Nevertheless, the reviewer recommended Shackling Water as "a wonderful accomplishment." Booklist reviewer Donna Seaman praised the author for writing "with authority, precision, and verve." Shackling Water was compared to James Baldwin's classic Sonny's Blues in Library Journal by Roger A. Berger, who also enjoyed the author's "fiercely textured prose," especially in the first third of the novel.
In Angry Black White Boy; or, The Miscegenation of Macon Detornay, Mansbach writes of Macon, a white youth in suburban Boston who is a fan of hip-hop during the late 1980s and early 1990s. In this story, the author "interrogates the concept of whiteness, a term with which he is decidedly uncomfortable," according to Scott Thill in a review for AlterNet. Bookslut online reviewer Elizabeth Kiem commented that Angry Black White Boy "acknowledges the assimilation of hip-hop culture by whites with a mix of resentment and resignation," in a story that is presented in a series of "raucous vignettes."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2002, Donna Seaman, review of Shackling Water, p. 1004.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2002, review of Shackling Water, p. 282.
Library Journal, February 15, 2002, Roger A. Berger, review of Shackling Water, p. 178.
Publishers Weekly, January 21, 2002, review of Shackling Water, p. 63.
Adam Mansbach Home Page, http://www.kodiakbrinks.com (January 21, 2006).
AlterNet, http://www.alternet.org/ (May 6, 2005), Scott Thill, review of Angry Black White Boy, or the Miscegenation of Macon Detornay.
Bookslut, http://www.bookslut.com/ (January 21, 2006), Elizabeth Kiem, review of Angry Black White Boy.