Weekend Entertainment Guide

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BOOKS . . . FLYING HOME AND OTHER STORIES: Ralph Ellison was a great writer, but not a prolific one. Born in 1914, he published only one novel, 'Invisible Man,' before his death in 1994. 'Flying Home' represents a welcome addition to his oeuvre, notes TIME's Christopher John Farley. Of the 13 stories in 'Flying Home,' six were unpublished during Ellisonís lifetime. They were found, after his death, in a box beneath his dining-room table. The tales in 'Flying Home' were written between 1937 and 1954, when the author was still fairly young, and nearly all of them feature drifting, youthful protagonists. 'A Party down at the Square' tells the story of a lynching from the point of view of a white boy. It is a masterpiece, exploring from the inside the clubby, seductive nature of racism. In the memorable title story, a young black pilot crashes during a training flight. When an old, poor black man and his son come across the crash site, the pilot feels "cut off from them by age, by understanding, by sensibility, by technology." Later, a white landowner has the pilot taken away in a straitjacket, figuring any black man who dares to fly must be crazy. "Reaching great heights requires personal and cultural risks," says Farley. "These stories soar."