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Dr. King's Refrigerator

Dr. King's Refrigerator

And Other Bedtime Stories

Charles Johnson's innovative and richly imagined collection is full of stories -- sly, witty, and insightful -- that bring the world into focus. Each is a vivid cultural and philosophical portrait that deftly explores issues of identity and race. "Kwoon" follows the spiritual journey of a martial arts teacher on Chicago's South Side. "Sweet Dreams" is a Kafkaesque tale set in a world where dreams are taxed and a man and his dreamlife are being audited. "The Gift of the Osuo" is a fable about the dangers of getting what you wish for. In "Cultural Relativity," a young woman falls in love with the son of the president of an African nation but is forbidden to ever kiss him. The title story is an illuminating and deeply human tale about pre-Montgomery Martin Luther King Jr. and a revelation he had when he looked into his refrigerator late one night.
Provocative, engaging, and compassionate, Dr. King's Refrigerator is a superb and important collection from a major American voice.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 144 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416585497 | 
  • November 2007
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Cultural Relativity

Not long ago a college student named Felicia Brooks felt she was the most fortunate young woman in all Seattle, and possibly in the entire world, except for one small problem.

She was deeply in love with her boyfriend, an African student who was the only son of his country's president. His name was Fortunata Maafa. In the spring of 2001, they both were graduating seniors at the University of Washington. They had been dating all year long, he was more than she could ever have hoped for, and Felicia knew all her friends thought Fortunata was catnip. In fact, she was afraid sometimes that they... see more

About the Author

Charles Johnson
Photo Credit:

Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson, a 1998 MacArthur fellow, is the S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollock Endowed Professor of English at the University of Washington in Seattle. His fiction includes Dr. King's Refrigerator, Dreamer, and Middle Passage, for which he won the National Book Award. In 2002 he received the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Seattle.




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