Paul Beatty’s Ferguson W. Sowell, a.k.a. DJ Darky, voyages to Berlin in pursuit of collaboration with reclusive avant – garde jazzman Charles Stone. His search in the exotic precincts of Berlin allows for an ongoing rumination on a wide range of subjects. Alex Abramovich observes
And try as he might to expand the boundaries of his own identity as a black writer (even to the extent that the author’s discomfort with that identity becomes his novel’s true subject), the project tends to cancel itself out. This makes Slumberland darker, more fatalistic, and more disturbing than Beatty (a comedic writer at heart) might have intended. It, too, offers present-tense pleasuresbut very little comfort, and no sense that the fun house (which is also a torture chamber) has an exit.