by Charles Johnson
One night in the antebellum South, a slaveowner and his African-American butler stay up to all hours drinking Madeira and playing cards. Finally, too besotted to face their respective wives, they drunkenly decide to switch places in each other’s beds. The result is a hilarious imbroglio and an offspring, Andrew Hawkins, whose life becomes the Oxherding Tale, a deliciously funny, bitterly ironic account of slavery, racism, oppression - and the African-American spirit - in the Old South. Through sexual escapades, picaresque adventures, and philosophical inquiry, young Hawkins walks the line between white and black worlds and comments wryly on marriage, human nature, slave catchers, and culture along the way.