In this beautifuly textured first novel by the author of the acclaimed short story collection Homemade Love , the history of one slave family becomes symbolic for all slaves and slaveholders. Clora, the granddaughter of a slave and a slaveholder, refuses to accept her life as chattel and, as did her mother, escapes slavery by committing suicide. She had tried to poison her children first, but they survive and Clora's spirit narrates their story, beginning with her daughter Always. Although her siblings pass for white to escape, dark Always endures the misery of slavery including frequent rape by the slave owner. Stealing his gold to save for anticipated freedom, she risks her life to learn how to read. When she and his wife give birth to sons at the same time, Always switches the babies, of like complexion. Her son grows up in freedom, while she raises the other as a slave--a masterful metaphor for the psychological bondage that slavery imposed on slave masters. Both young men survive the Civil War, and Always lives to see them prosper after emancipation. However, as Clora narrates, racism replaces slavery and humankind continues to suffer from its divisions. With power and grace, Cooper weaves the dialect, style and myths of the South into a portrait of the hell that was slavery. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternate; author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
YA-- This affecting historical novel, set in the pre-Civil War South, is narrated by a slave named Clora. She describes the life she and her mother share, her mother's suicide, her own unsuccessful attempt to kill her children, and the successful taking of her own life to escape mistreatment by her masters. After her death, Clora follows her children's lives in spirit form (interestingly depicted on the cover). The treatment of the slaves is heart-wrenching. Although vivid details make readers identify with the characters and feel their pain, Cooper's writing skill will draw them into the story, despite knowing in advance that it will hurt. While the generous use of white space on each page gives the book a juvenile appearance, the format, emotional tone, and use of dialect make it more appropriate for more mature YAs. An excellent book about slave life in the pre- and post- Civil War era.
-Jacqueline J. Craig, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Love J. California Cooper's way of weaving your heart through the pages of her writings. What a soul inspiring read.Published 11 months ago by Hannah O