"Cotton" (a.k.a. "The Ballad of Lee Cotton") by Christopher Wilson (2005)
"'It makes them stupid, sir?'
"'Stupid and proud of it. Two-thirds way through the twentieth century and they're still cropping cotton, brooding over the Civil War. And, as if they aren't retarded enough already, they chosen to pick a fight with civilization. And what weapons have they got?'
"'Fire, dynamite, bullets, and rage - all left over from Gettysburg.'"
The digital age just passed some authors by. They got to a certain level of popularity - rose no higher - and then vanished into relative obscurity before anyone could sit down and write their Wikipedia page. This author is a case in point. I suppose I could sit down and do write that page myself, but I doubt I'll ever come across his books, and right now the only other piece of information I have is the fact he lives (lived?) in London.
Cotton is the story of Lee Cotton, a white child born to black parents in Mississippi. Lee spends his early years negotiating Southern racial politics, and after an assault he undergoes a series of transformations which offer a unique perspective on race and gender in the United States.
As novels go it was OK I guess. Nothing special. The author tries very hard to be funny, but he doesn't always succeed and he never seems sure of where he's going. In its Southern aspects this book reminded me a lot of Forrest Gump, though I've only seen the movie and for all I know it's quite different from the book that inspired it.
At any rate Cotton is very light reading and doesn't try to hard to be deep. The author also has (had?) a talent for writing, and I'm thinking that his more recent books are probably better.
"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett (2009)
"The Story of My Teeth" by Valeria Luiselli (2015)
"The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu (2016)
"Libra" by Don Delillo (1988)