From Publishers Weekly
What starts off as a drive from Nashville to Birmingham quickly moves across the globe as Randall (The Wind Done Gone
) unravels the life of Abel Jones. The day Abel was born, sweet tucked deep in the dark South, Langston Hughes, out west on a speaking tour, typed a little poem in celebration... Abel was colored-baby royalty—but things aren't always so sweet. Abel faces run-ins with the KKK and, after a short lifetime as an angry husband and father and a secretive spy, meets his untimely end in the bathroom of a campy dinner theater restaurant. We learn most of his history via his first wife, Hope, following her journey from a young Georgetown matron to the present (thoughts on President Obama and all). As she tries to reconcile Abel's right to tell necessary lies to his wife, and to whomever else he chose, she discovers what it is that bound them together in the first place. Randall leaves much to the imagination, but in the end, she successfully creates a family that's been torn apart and haphazardly put back together by forces sometimes terrifying, sometimes hopeful. (Oct.)
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Randall moves masterfully between past and present and between Nashville, Washington, D.C., Manila, and Rome to present an intriguing portrait of a young black couple struggling with racial identity and expectations…Randall demonstrates, with delicious imagery and a sense of racial irony, a love for history's forgotten and overlooked. (Booklist
Alice Randall's Rebel Yell
addresses race, class, backroom politics, and family intrigue through the intellectual yet heart-smart lens of Harvard-educated African American Hope Jones Blackshear. Traveling between her native Nashville and Rome, Blackshear faces down facts and fictions of her own past that parallel the tumult of Americas first postmillenial decade. (Elle