Select Page

Ceremonies in Dark Old Men
Ceremonies in Dark Old Men by Lonne Elder, III
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an audio play, given free by Audible sempena Black History Month. The story is about a black family in 1950s-1960s Harlem. Russel Parker runs a barbershop, while his two sons Theo and Bobby are small-time bad boys with a penchant for larceny and have a hard time holding down a job, due to racism and other general malaise. Russel’s daughter Adele is the only one with a job, and supports both the barbershop and the men. She’s obviously unhappy about the situation (as well she might), and basically told them off to get their najis bersama-sama.

Theo gets involved with the local gangster and persuades Russel to front a bootleg alcohol business with the barbershop. Things very quickly go south, due to Russel squandering the earnings instead of properly keeping the books in order, which is apparently very unhealthy when the people bankrolling the operations find out. Eventually Theo wants out, but not before Bobby meets his untimely demise at an attempted larceny gone wrong.

The story’s quick and pretty good. I especially liked the character development here, especially Theo who previously didn’t believe in working for ‘The Man’, but ends up learning about responsibility when picking up the work left undone by Russel, even though the motivation was grounded essentially in self-preservation. He learns the lesson here about responsibilities, but unable to back out in time.

View all my reviews