When Washington Was in Vogue is a love story by Edward Christopher Williams--told in a series of letters from Davy Carr to Bob Fletcher, a friend in Harlem. The epistolary nature of the novel provides a unique (and really unforgettable) experience. I first read the book in 2005 (when the novel had been discovered and published, after being hidden away in obscurity for so long)!
Of course, the book is more than just an intriguing discovery! We could call it something of a social artifact (or commentary)... In some ways, the book reminds me of The Great Gatsby, as it captures something of the feeling of an era. Perhaps, there's something to what Emily Bernard suggests--that the novel "reminds of of the important role correspondence has always played in our deep, human need to testify to our experience, and to assign order and meaning to things that happen to us."
Along with Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, Williams captured the Harlem Renaissance in vivid color--telling the stories as he saw them. But (like so many others), he was never recognized for this contribution during his lifetime. Adam McKible first discovered When Washington Was in Vogue in a heap of printouts from microfiche. And, of course, out of its obscurity/anonymity, the novel has risen... It's now been compared with The Great Gatsby and the works of Jane Austen.
Aberjhani (Encyclopedia of The Harlem Renaissance) wrote: "The best of humanity's recorded history is a creative balance between horrors endured and victories achieved, and so it was during the Harlem Renaissance."