(US, 1953– )
Pinckney, born and brought up in Indianapolis, is an essayist and critic as well as a novelist. His only novel to date, High Cotton (1992), follows the maturation of its unnamed narrator who, like Pinckney, attends Columbia University, and is probably a novelist. It is a deeply ambivalent portrait of a privileged middle-class black culture, known as ‘the talented tenth’, or as Pinckney calls them ‘the also chosen’. The novel deals with the protagonist's confusion and alienation in comprehending his ‘blackness’. This is most clearly shown through his relation to his grandfather, Eustace, who embodies the young man's relationship with his African-American past. The novel itself is elliptical, and has been described rather as a collection of essays. However, Pinckney's engagement with debates about ethnicity and rootedness is superb.
James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison CJ