Train Whistle Guitar has 129 ratings and 15 reviews

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.

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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

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