Barney Author:William Johnson Patrolman Barney Scanlon lives in these pages, larger than life, three-dimensional, completely horrifying, completely revealing--and yet the author manages to make us feel compassion for this prejudices, stupid, dangerous human being. — As a result of a homicide in a changing neighborhood in Queens, he encounters Crank Wilson, a black boy. Barney... more » feels that the boy is a kook and a killer, and the boy is equally certain that the cop is bird dogging him for no other reason than he is black.
neither the cop nor the boy is free to make a rational judgment. Barney Scanlon is harassed by his own unshakable prejudices, by his wife, his children, and even by a hole in the basement floor of his suburban home. His married daughter continually questions his masculinity. His elder son keeps looking at him accusingly with his glass eye. In addition, he has a partner who shows signs of being a Judas, and a "whore" in residence across the back yard. Barney Scanlon is a man beset--a man needing a sacrifice to exorcise his personal demons.
The boy, too, sees himself as a victim. He feels that his parents--middle class, industrious office workers--are striving not to become free, but to become white, re-enslaving themselves in the process. All whites are the enemy. And while he is tomented by these beliefs, Crank finds himself falling in love with a white girl, for him a terrible conflict. He, too, needs release from the devils that plague him.
From the confrontation between the cop and the boy, William Johnston has crated a beautiful, profoundly moving work of art--a novel that is at moments funny, sad, frightening, and--ultimately--tragic.« less