Books: Soul on Fire

!CLICK SONG by John A. Williams

Houghton Mifflin; 430 pages; $13.95

Unlike gold prospectors, novelists must pick nuggets out of their heads. Both occupations seem to attract similar characters: stubborn loners who sacrifice time and ties for a big elusive payoff. John A. Williams, 56, has written more than a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction without striking a mother lode. He is a good writer with a big theme: being black in America. By now every honest citizen should know that racism is a national birth defect, which, in the absence of a cure,...

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