The Book of Numbers by Robert Deane Pharr

The Book of Numbers by Robert Deane PharrIn the hardboiled tradition of Chester Himes and Walter Mosley, Robert Deane Pharr’s novel tells the tale of two black men, Dave and Blueboy, traveling waiters who establish themselves as numbers runners in a fictionalized Richmond of the 1930s. Published to great acclaim in 1969, The Book of Numbers centers on powerful themes of truth illusion, myth and legend, and vividly conveys a sense of African American life on the periphery of white society. The new Virginia edition compliments Pharr’s text with an afterword by Washington Post editor Jabari Asim.

Robert Deane Pharr was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1916, graduated from Virginia Union University, and went on to graduate studies at Fisk, Columbia, and New York University – but spent most of his adult life as an itinerant waiter who moved from track to track, following the racing season. Pharr authored several novels, among them The Soul Murder case and Giveadamn Brown. He died in upstate New York in 1989.

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