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Losing Absalom Paperback – April 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566891701
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566891707
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,178,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One final battle crowns a lifetime of struggle for the hard-working, African American family man at the center of this moving first novel. In honest and lyrical prose, Pate explores the American dream, the inner city, the hope and sorrow of parenthood and the fragility of life. As Absalom Goodman lies dying in a Philadelphia hospital with his wife Gwen and two grown children gathered around him, his mind retraces the journey of his life and surveys the results of his ceaseless labors. Gwen and both children reflect on their roles within this family and the fundamental strength of Absalom, which guided them. Sonny, now part of predominantly white corporate America, returns home to confront a life he thought he had left behind. Rainy, an aspiring singer who lives in the family homestead with her boyfriend, lives in a different kind of denial. Gwen and Absalom hope to hold on, both for themselves and for these children who still so obviously need them. Pate's restrained writing steers clear of the maudlin while gracefully illuminating both the contemporary and timeless aspects to his tale. Amid the realities of decay and dying can be glimpsed a brief, fragile vision of strength and hope.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This heavy, overwritten first novel concerns a black man who returns to his North Philadelphia home when he learns that his father, Absalom, is dying of brain cancer. Sonny has been working and living in the corporate world of Minneapolis and, for no apparent reason, was unaware that his father was at death's door. His 36-year-old sister, Rainy, who yearns to be a singer but refuses to take lessons, is living in the old family home in its now deteriorating neighborhood. Her boyfriend, Dancer, a would-be photographer, is dealing drugs out of the house. As Absalom lies dying, he is privy to and comments upon the thoughts and actions of his children-- always in italics. Pate takes forever just to move a character from one room to another and wildly overreaches for descriptive depth: his "paper bag brown face"; the "enamel sparks from his grinding teeth"; "Her thoughts had congealed into a muddy clump." One woman has "long black hair and excavating eyes." The minimal plot and the foreshadowed tragedy are drowned in the dripping bathos. Not recommended.
- Ron Antonucci, Hudson Lib. & Historical Soc . , Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book opened up a whole new thought line for me. The strength that Absalom brought to this family at its start held them until the very end.This reminds me so much of the battles that some our black families face everyday. The outcome is never what you think it will be but the reality is. This brother writes with true feeling. I could feel each and every character all of their joy and their pain. I'm looking forward to reading more of his work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book addressed issues that are central to many African American lives. I especially liked the book because it showed a black family intact and portrayed them as normal people working through family relationships and trying to deal with a crisis in a constructive manner. I do, however, wish the ending had more fully addressed the complexities of the situation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on June 22, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Absalom worked like a dog for countless years to ensure that his family had food on the table, a clean home, and a positive role model. Doesn't it always seem that as soon as hardworking folk like him get to a point in their life where they are in a position to retire, death or disease rear their ugly heads? Losing Absalom tells of this man and his toils. It seems, however, that there is no peace for a man who feels that his children are not living up to the values he set forth.His daughter is living in the home he worked so hard to buy, letting it go to pot, living with a drug dealer boyfriend who is bad news. His son has been reduced to a workaholic, ignoring his family and his Philadelphia roots - living in a city where you could count the black population on one hand. Far from home. Far from what Absalom taught him. On his deathbed, Absalom struggles to save his family from their self-destruction, fighting for that which is worth fighting for.
Alexs Pate never ceases to amaze me. With each of his works, it seems that he is talking to me, telling me a poignant story in a way no other author can. A gracious author true to his craft, Pate is the cream of the crop, as is evident in Losing Absalom.
Reviewed by CandaceK
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was so tedious, it was almost painful to read. The characters were one-dimensional, the plot was predictable and sometimes ridiculous. Worse, its message is that if you aspire to something more than a ghetto existence, you can expect alienation and death!
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