Very cool idea, executed with some striking insights about literary obsessions and the construction of whiteness and blackness as opposites. (One of my favorite moments is when the narrator mentions in passing that he can't imagine black people existing in the saturated, romantic paintings of Thomas Kinkade's literary double.) But I can't recommend it. Though the planning and structure of the novel is very smart, and there are these excellent moments sprinkled throughout, the quality of prose and characterization felt flat and uninspired. In fact, a great deal of the plot is moved forward by the blundering of a character drawn with some of the most flat-handed and frankly boring fat hatred I've ever seen in an otherwise smart book.