Wings of Red
by James W. Jennings
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Pub Date 21 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 10 Nov 2023
June Papers is a twenty-eight-year-old MFA grad with a felony record, “the classic young, Black and gifted American misfit.” He’s also a substitute teacher. He’s also homeless. With dreams of becoming a writer, June endures a host of trials and dilemmas as he reluctantly realizes mentoring and teaching might actually be a path forward for him.
Wings of Red is driven by June’s unique narrative style, a propulsive voice that intimately and vulnerably guides readers through the condemned external reality of a Black educator’s personal and professional world falling apart, and coming together again.
Populated by a host of true-to-life characters who are attempting to realize their dreams despite precarious professional and financial realities, Wings of Red elucidates the fallacy of the American dream while serving as a reminder of how powerful and necessary autofiction can be. Directed at students and educators but written for any audience, Wings of Red is an inspiring and poetic tour de force and an unexpectedly necessary ode to New York City that features a texture, velocity, and immediacy that speaks to the author's authentic and lived perspective.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR WINGS OF RED
A Debutiful Most Anticipated Book of 2023
“The stylish narrative voice propels this book. Jennings’ point of view is unlike any other.”
—Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful
“Much like the author himself, Wings of Red is totally unique and individual, and yet finds deep points of connection and understanding. Written for the teacher and the student in us but also the brother, mother, and friend we hope to be, this is a story that breaks all the rules in the best of ways.”
—Mathea Morais, author of There You Are
“Tender-hearted and tough-minded, James W. Jennings is a necessary writer for these harsh times. His novel Wings of Red records the daily life of June, a young Black man, a struggling writer, and a substitute teacher. June’s consciousness reveals the contemporary moment. Wings of Red is genuine and honest, a diaristic bildungsroman through which Jennings renders June’s past and present, as June seeks to understand his past and present. June’s startling ingenuousness and compassionate heart is beautiful and revelatory. Written in a stunning style, demolishing cliches and stereotypes, Jennings recharges writing with flair and hope: He is an original in every sense of the word. I love Wings of Red.”
—Lynne Tillman, author of Mothercare and Men and Apparitions