Kickass, the doorstop dog, does not know racism, but the keeper does, and in his novel “Margaret’s War,” published by Three Towers Press (HenschelHAUS) last year, he brought the issue into his totally white fictional town of Oxbow in the form of Lobelia Cardinalis, a black jazz singer. As a writing exercise, it was interesting to imagine how racism manifested itself in a community of white people who had never seen a black person, and how a black person transcended the ignorance of inexplicable racial bias.
Writers aren’t always comfortable living with their words, but the keeper is happy that “Margaret’s War,” set when there were thousands of German POWs in this county at the end of WW II, deals with contemporary issues like racism, along with the disempowerment of women, and the absurdity of young men fighting the wars of rich old men.
“Margaret’s War” is not likely to show on NYT book lists or in Hollywood promos—though the keeper, of course, thinks it qualifies; but it tells a story the keeper worked on for decades, and he is gratified that it is finally out there and available on Amazon or through billstokesauthor.com. Reading it will not solve any racial issues, but it discusses them, and maybe helps make the point that we’ve got trouble here in (Oxbow) River City.