Book Review: Blacktop Wasteland
by S. A. Cosby
Publication Date: Jul 14, 2020
List Price: $26.99
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Imprint: Flatiron Books
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers
Parent Company: Holtzbrinck Publishing Group
Borrow from Library
Book Reviewed by W. Paul Coates
Black Top Wastland a Conversation With S A Cosby and Paul Coates
Aug 30, 2020 06:00 p.m. Eastern Time
S. A. Cosby has written a winning book that resonates deeply with me. His is an exploration of Black men and their relationship with family, community and the white world connecting them. It takes place in a different world than the one where I grew up. It’s rural Black America and rural white America too. A place where trailer homes are for the fortunate, and Beauregard “Bug” Montage wonders if he owns his because he dreamed too big, or because he dreamed too small. Cosby knows this world, and he makes it all come alive in the fast-reading pages of his critically acclaimed, Blacktop Wasteland.
Through wonderful word craft, Cosby has created Beauregard as a new complex and heroic Black man. He’s driven hard by his commitment to bring stability to his family: his wife, two sons, a daughter from a teen relationship, and a manipulative mother who is at death’s doorway. Yet, is stability what he wants for himself? Or is it the fast car and the biggest caper with the cleanest getaway ever? Bug is torn. He desperately wants to succeed for his family, but he’s also fully in touch with his inner demons. And he’s connected, at least mentally, to his long-gone father. Bug is convinced he’s destined to follow his father’s criminal footsteps. It is that connection more than anything else that thrills him, and pushes hard against the good that others see in him. It fuels him and gives him the speed rush he enjoys as he sits behind the wheel of his treasured hot Duster. Nothing is faster than Bug and his car except perhaps, Blacktop Wasteland. Cosby has given us an unclassic tale of Bug’s delicate amalgam of love, and untiring good, balanced precariously against his relentless criminality—and vengeance.