Murray’s output includes not just the essays and memoirs, but novels, too. Beginning with Train Whistle Guitar in 1975, the picaresque fictions trace the development of Murray’s alter ego, Scooter, a riff-style improviser from the American South who comes of age amid complex social dynamics of the early-to-mid twentieth century. Train Whistle Guitar has even been characterized as one of the greatest African American Bildungsroman narratives. Powerful words — ones that would seem to describe a canonical writer.
Mr. Murray was 54 when “The Omni-Americans” appeared, and perhaps to make up for lost time, he began a prolific outpouring of essays and reportage for publications including Harper’s. With “Train Whistle Guitar,” he also launched a career as a novelist. His protagonist, known only by his nickname Scooter and raised in fictional Gasoline Point, Ala., in the 1920s, bore similarities to the author.
Northeastern University Press, 1974 - Fiction - 183 pages