Saturday, March 20, 2010

Featured Book: Dopefiend: The Story of A Black Junkie, by Donald Goines

Donald Goines made a name for himself by writing gritty and hard-hitting stories of addiction, violence, and poverty; he was one of the first African-American writers of urban fiction. Dopefiend was his first book. A prolific author, he wrote another fifteen books before his death less than four years after Dopefiend's publication. (He died, it should be noted, by the gun; he and his wife were gunned down in either a drug deal gone wrong or in retaliation for his portrayal of neighborhood criminals; his murderers remain unidentified.)

Goines' influence is strong, and not just among the latest generation of urban writers. Musical artists from Tupac Shakur to Ludicris have referenced him in their work, and his novels have been made into movies and even a graphic novel.

The seventies were a golden age of pulp fiction, and most authors produced one or two works before fading into obscurity. Dopefiend, as Goines' first novel, reflects that expectation: the binding and paper quality was not made to last, making it all the more difficult to find in acceptable condition, and this edition was not preceded by a hardcover as much popular fiction is today. Though a common-looking mass market paperback, this is the true first edition of a groundbreaking work.

Our copy is in phenomenal shape, with only some edgewear and rubbing, a crease to the spine, and the usual tanning of the pages. The binding is tight and square and the text unmarked, with no tears or major creases beyond the noted one on the spine. An excellent addition to the collector's library, or the perfect beginning of one. As always, offered at a discount for blog readers who buy through PayPal.

More photos on Flickr

Dopefiend, by Donald Goines
Los Angeles: Holloway House, 1971.
First Edition

No comments:

Post a Comment