“This is a major discovery. It dramatically expands the canon of novels written by Harlem Renaissance writers. More important, because it was written in the second half of the period, it shows that the renaissance continued to be vibrant and creative and turned its focus to international issues — in this case the tensions between Communists, on the one hand, and black nationalists, on the other, for the hearts and minds of black Americans.”
—Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
“Claude McKay is such a romantic, questing figure in American literature that he belongs as much to the Lost Generation as he does to the Harlem Renaissance. The dramatic work of his expatriate youth is celebrated, but much less attention has been paid to what he wrote after he returned to New York in the mid 1930s. Indeed, his autobiography, a monumental survey of Harlem, and his occasional pieces were all we knew of his late work. Now two brilliant scholars have discovered McKay’s last novel and thereby changed our picture of his closing years. Amiable with Big Teeth also tells us a lot about how black people around the globe responded to the invasion of Ethiopia and the spectre of fascism. McKay is always interesting and always heartbreaking, he is so original and desperate and brave.”
“McKay (1889–1948) has long been considered one of the great authors of the Harlem Renaissance. (…) Scholars and admirers now have a new piece of the oeuvre to admire (…)Amiable With Big Teeth lives up to McKay’s reputation.”
“A satire of the political activists and intelligentsia of 1930s Harlem, it is a capstone to the literary career of McKay (1889-1948), considered one of the pillars of the Harlem Renaissance.”
“As a roman à clef written just a few years after the period it covers, Amiable with Big Teeth reflects that era with an intimacy impossible to capture in a later time—a miraculous feat for a book discovered seven decades later… it inevitably recasts the narrative of Claude McKay’s later years—altering our understanding of a novelist who seemingly wrote his last novel 15 years before his death—and it’s a satisfying rewrite.”
“Engaging and well-paced.”