• Evangeline Lawson

Long Division by Kiese Laymon

Can we say Black people and time travel and magical realism and humor and did I say Black people?! All in one story no less.


I will admit that it took me forever to finish Long Division by Kiese Laymon, but partly because I did not want it to end. So I procrastinated; reading only a few pages a day (especially of the second story) in effort to delay what I knew was coming–some type of twist that would have me in emotional knots by the end.


Outside of wonderful description (which I mentioned in the part one review), the dialogue between characters and internal conversation that the main character had with himself, exemplified Laymon's strength as a writer; witty and thought provoking, with the goal of bringing the reader into the story, so you feel.


I grew attached to the main character City as he navigated his awkward coolness and the struggle to understand that which was way beyond his level of experience. Somehow he seemed to be just as cool as his name in navigating the unusual and unexpected.


There were elements that were unapologetically Black: hip hop, wave brushes, 'bagging' on each other. But at the same time interwoven with vivid imagery that reminded you of people you've met: lips with too much lip gloss or the opposite, those that are way too dry, folks with bad haircuts and people who smell like whatever was last cooked or eaten. These are all things that Laymon uses to create endearing characters with multidimensional story lines that the reader becomes invested it.


Overall, Long Division takes you on a journey. One that's been told before; finding yourself in the midst of conflicting identities and social expectations, but with a unique spin that makes you scratch your head and laugh out loud, simultaneously making your heart drop as you're filled with suspense.


Rarely do I reread fiction. However this one might be a first because it seems like the type of novel where you'll catch something new each time, but mostly because I enjoyed it that much.

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