A sharp satire perfect for Critic readers (Robert Hutton, 2/06/24, The Critic)

American Fiction sits alongside last year’s hit novel Yellowface as a satire of the publishing industry’s — and the reading public’s — fetishisation of particular minority experiences. “They want a black book,” Monk’s agent tells him after publishers reject an earlier manuscript. “They have one,” replies Monk. “I’m black, and it’s my book.”

The film is merciless on all its subjects, including Monk, who loathes his publisher and nurses a vicious grudge against a more successful rival in ways that I and all my fellow authors will insist under torture that we do not recognise.

Wright, utterly absorbing, gives us a man who is grumpy but tender, perceptive but idiotic, satirical but pompous, dignified but ridiculous. The funniest moments come from Monk’s frustration at the fawning reaction to the book — “White people think they want the truth, but they don’t,” Monk’s agent tells him. “They just want to be absolved.”