Robert Jones is a crew leader in a naval shipyard in Los Angeles in the 1940s. He should have a lot going for him, being educated, with a steady job and a steady relationship. But in the four days covered in this novel, the impossibility of life as a black man in a white world is made devastatingly clear. Jones is surrounded by prejudice, suspicion and paranoia, and his daily experiences influence his thoughts, dreams and behaviour. Immediately recognised as a masterful expose of racism in everyday life, If He Hollers Let Him Go was Chester Himes’ first book, published originally in 1945.
Serpent’s Tail, 2016 (1945)