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Article

Tuff

Posted on

Tuff

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Paul Beatty
publisher:
Knopf
genre:
Fiction

We gave it an A

Twenty-two-year-old Winston Foshay, the larger-than-life hero of Beatty’s bracing second novel Tuff (following White Boy Shuffle), is different, ”not in the ‘Isn’t he special’ mentally retarded sense but as befits someone described by his friends as ‘off.”’ Most of this satire is devoted to detailing just how ”off” he is. Tagged ”Tuffy” on the streets of Spanish Harlem, where he deals drugs on the stoop of 258 East 109th Street with his lady Yolanda, best friend Fariq, and a crew of neighborhood misfits, Winston wants to make a movie about Cap’n Crunch. But when his godmother, a Japanese-American political activist, bribes him with her internment camp restitution check to run for city council, he gets sidetracked into politics — and the story finally gets a plot. Not that plot particularly matters in a book filled with hilarious set pieces that read like Chris Rock riffing on Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities. A