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Rebel Yell: A Novel Hardcover – September 29, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

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


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596916680
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596916685
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.3 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,985,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By thompsn on January 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Rebel Yell" is a novel about truth: its awfulness, its immensity, and
its rarity. With her careful construction of characters, setting, and
words that fall from the page with palpable emotion, Randall has
created a vibrant tapestry in "Rebel Yell," made of the very fabric of
this nation. The writing is complex, rich and decadent; but, it
takes a discerning palate to appreciate the nuance of her work.
Randall gives entrée to the often-overlooked world of affluent,
self-sustaining, African-American "royalty." DuBois often spoke of
the talented tenth; Randall has brought them to life. A revised birth
of a nation, Randall's novel shows what the Civil War and Civil Rights
bore into the future. Race here, however, is not black and white.
Randall has transformed the colors into even bolder emotions--fear,
strength, pride--and softens them with themes of family and goodness.

"Rebel Yell" reveals that the truth is redemptive and triumphant.
Randall, with her incredible grasp of history, literature, and
politics of the age, shows that there are no accidents in life. There
is no such thing as spontaneous generation. The evil of one era can
beget evil in the next. The only good writing is personal writing,
and this is a novel with the power to speak to every person who stops
to listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rachel McElhany VINE VOICE on January 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Rebel Yell opens with Abel Jones Jr. passing away after eating at the Rebel Yell restaurant. After his funeral his first wife Hope reexamines their life together and puts together the pieces to discover the true Abel that she never knew. Both Abel and Hope grapple with issues of race and racial identity and I really enjoyed that aspect of the story. I also liked how the author weaved real historical events throughout. However, some parts of the book were too cryptic for me and I felt like I wasn't understanding everything the author was trying to say.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carleen Brice on May 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
From the book cover and the little bit I'd heard about Rebel Yell, I had expected a portrait of a Southern black marriage in the 60s maybe. I expected pearls, high heels, LINKS, Jack and Jill and all that bougie black folk Talented Tenth stuff. I got that and so much more. The time spans all the way up to the present. And there are spies in this book! And good humor, sadness and lots of mystery. Randall doesn't spoon feed you the story--this is ambitious fiction here--so there are a few pieces of the puzzle (and this book is a puzzle) that are vague enough that I'm not sure exactly what happened. But I'm okay with that. Randall has a way with words and a way with characters that kept me hooked from page one. Absolutely loved it!
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Format: Hardcover
Alice Randall's "Rebel Yell" is a novel about love, race, sex, power, culture, family...just to name a few themes!
An ambitious novel that delivers page after page, Rebel Yell shows why Alice is one of America's finest writers.
This book was truly enjoyable to read. It was exciting and action packed, but also sweet and relation-ship driven. The world that Alice Randall creates here comes alive in full color. The characters are very real and interesting. The times and places that Alice sets the book are fascinating. The writing is intelligent and soulful. Bravo Alice!
PS Music lovers will also appreciate Alice's use of sound and song to tell this story.
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