Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Mumbo Jumbo
Ishmael Reed


A plague is spreading across 1920s America, racing from New Orleans to New York. It’s an epidemic of free expression, carried by black artists, and its symptoms are an uncontrollable urge to dance, sing, laugh and jive. The state will stop at nothing to suppress the outbreak, but, deep in the heart of Harlem, private eye and Vodum priest Papa LaBas has other ideas – and, possibly, the key to everything. A freewheeling, explosive blend of jazz, ragtime, ancient myth, magic and conspiracy thriller, this anarchic postmodern classic is a satire for our times.

Paperback, 224pp
Penguin, 2016 (1972)
ISBN 9780241305812