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Mr. Sebastian and the . . . Magician


As you might imagine, there was not a little discussion about the title of this book. Discussion with the wife, the agent, the editor, and friends. Not the best way to title it, necessarily, but the culturally appropriate way to title it. There were a few people who believed that the word ‘negro’ was offensive. I didn’t believe it was. I argued that, since the book takes place in early to mid-twentieth century, ‘negro,’ while clearly anachronistic, was appropriate for the time. So MSATNM it was.

That being said, I did expect someone to say something about it. I thought I’d get a few angry posts here, maybe a paragraph about it in the course of a review, a question about it at a reading . . . but there was nothing. At all. Apparently no one has really cared one way or the other. I’m surprised — happily surprised, because the idea wasn’t to offend, but to create interest, and maybe that’s what it’s done.

There are a number of ways the title is perfect for this book, and some of them aren’t clear until you read it. So read it.

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