On 2nd January 1972, an Englishwoman called Hale Kimga was murdered in Trinidad. A year later, a black American called Hakim Jamal was murdered in Boston. Soon after that a film actress called Jean Seberg killed herself in Paris. Hale and Hakim had lived together since 1969, when he had come to London to write a book, Jean and Hakim had been ...Read MoreOn 2nd January 1972, an Englishwoman called Hale Kimga was murdered in Trinidad. A year later, a black American called Hakim Jamal was murdered in Boston. Soon after that a film actress called Jean Seberg killed herself in Paris. Hale and Hakim had lived together since 1969, when he had come to London to write a book, Jean and Hakim had been lovers before he met Hale. The editor of Hakim's book was Diana Athill, a single woman who had worked in publishing for 23 years. Her relationship with Hakim Jamal - the subject of this book - combined intimacy and detachment in an extraordinary way. Her relationship extended to Hale, and for a few bizarre moments to Jean Seberg, but principally it was with Hakim. This book describes these characters and their inter-relationships.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 1994-01-17 Occasionally compelling, this brief book recounts a lost episode from the ``radical chic'' era, British division. In 1969, Athill ( Instead of a Letter ), a well-bred, 50-ish London editor, met Hakim Jamal, an African American risen from drugs and drink through the teachings of Malcolm X. With cool economy, she recalls how her relationship with Jamal, 14 years her junior, intensified from editing his autobiography to friendship to sex; she tells of his strange relationship with Jean Seberg and of his abusive, guru-like friendship with the daughter of a one-time member of Parliament, who so embraced his teachings about white guilt that ``she wanted to turn herself black.'' But Athill overlooked indications of Jamal's madness--he described himself as God--until they were inescapable. She effectively conveys his humane and mesmerizing qualities and her sadness at his violent demise--he was shot to death in 1973--seems genuine. But the author tells too little of herself to make the memoir memorable. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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