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Rebel Yell: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, October 26, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (October 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608192350
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608192359
  • ASIN: B005K6OM6C
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 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: #1,484,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“[Randall] successfully creates a family that’s been torn apart and haphazardly put back together by forces sometimes terrifying, sometimes hopeful.”—Publishers Weekly
“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 (starred review)
“Alice Randall's Rebel Yell (Bloomsbury) 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

"Rebel Yell offers a rich journey through the world of distinguished graduates of Southern black colleges, black fraternities and sororities, Jack and Jill societies, Ivy League institutions and summer vacations at Martha's Vineyard -- the world, in short, of a black elite whose lives are only dimly glimpsed by many Americans…Rebel Yell raises the intriguing possibility that something went badly awry with some of the children who came of age during the most terror-ridden years of the civil rights movement. Rebel Yell is chock-full of such possible lines of development…Part detective story, part love story, Rebel Yell is a novel deeply suffused with nostalgia and mourning.”—Washington Post

“[Rebel Yell] will make you laugh, yell (a little), and think (a lot).”—Essence
“Captivating…the book is a veritable feast of black culture: Randall stacks her pages full of surprises---history lessons, choice bits about artists, poets and musicians, vignettes of the "black bougie" lives Hope and Abel led.”—Atlanta Journal Constitution

“With Rebel Yell, we enter the world of a cosmopolitan black elite, halfway between the characters of Stephen Carter’s old Gold Coast families of D.C. and Dorothy West’s of Martha’s Vineyard, anchored with stirrings of Toni Morrison’s Love. Randall’s characters hail from old Nashville with its rich civil rights history and social clubs. Weaved into this complicated world of politics, race and class, is a tale of love, hope, and redemption. Alice Randall is a southern writer with an international trajectory and this novel confirms her place at the forefront of African-American novelists.”—T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, author of Pimps Up, Ho’s Down

“With Rebel Yell, Alice Randall proves herself to be one of the bravest and insightful writers of her generation. This is a novel of ideas—brimming with high concepts and complicated philosophical questions. At the same time, it is a novel full of heart. It’s about love gone right, and love gone wrong. It’s also a history of a family as well as a history of a people and the history of a nation. This novel itself if the yell of a rebel—Alice Randall—as she once again claws at the shell of our dearest-held myths and shows the world what's inside.”—Tayari Jones, author of Leaving Atlanta and The Untelling

“This elegant monument to our national past bears a viaticum for our future: allusive and funny, tender and elegiac, celebratory and loving all at once, Rebel Yell performs a capable act of imagination that reconciles fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, black and white, region and world, the living and their dead in a grand harmonic register; it strikes a new lyric for the American novel.”—Hortense Spillers, author of Black, White, and in Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture

“Absolutely fascinating! Alice Randall weaves history and family, race and love. Tracing the life and death of Abel Jones, a modern-day black Confederate, she shows the proudest of times could wound even the prince of the Negroes. Her tale could only be written right now.”—Nell Irvin Painter, author of The History of White People

“Alice Randall has given us Hope. And Hope helps us understand that black and white, more than a definition of contrasting colors, and more than a means of identifying two races, is the sum of our dark past, our glowing present and our bright future.”—John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center

Rebel Yell is a powerful and compelling novel about racial and regional identity, about marriage and about the ways in which the social and cultural upheavals of the sixties continue to reverberate through the American subconscious.”—Jay McInerney, author of The Good Life

“Alice Randall has written a powerful twenty-first-century novel of mourning. Brimming with history from the tumultuous Kennedy era and Civil Rights Movement to the present global moment, Rebel Yell mourns extensive losses, not just of bodies—those who died or of those who survived and at what costs—but primarily of idealism and activism for love and justice whether in racial, marital, political, or social relations. Writing with razor-smart humor to puncture the sadness and mystery at the center, Randall delivers up an exquisite meditation on physical and psychological lives lived and lost in arenas often considered beyond black people, whether in emotional feeling or in material fact. Both a political novel of intrigue in the Foreign Service and its residue in Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib and a protest novel against the violence done from Little Rock to Birmingham and its legacy in America’s black elite, Rebel Yell moves with conviction and courage through the complex world that was to the unresolved world that is still becoming.”—Thadious M. Davis, author of Nella Larsen, Novelist of the Harlem Renaissance: A Women’s Life Unveiled and Games of Property: Law, Race, Gender, and Faulkner’s Go Down Moses

“In Rebel Yell Alice Randall helps us understand that black and white, more than a definition of contrasting colors, and more than a means of identifying two races, is the sum of our dark past, our glowing present and our bright future.”—John Seigenthaler, journalist, writer, political figure

“Shunning readily available explanations for the post-Sixties civil rights-era emergence of such a man as Abel, Randall bypasses the published autobiographies and other public statements of prominent black men…Instead, the novelist utilizes the longterm relationship between Hope and Abel to present lives of such profound complexity that only a writer of Randall’s skill and experience could succeed in revealing the psychological bases for the emergence of an apparently anomalous Abel Jones. Rebel Yell is at once a novel of restless movement and great psychological depth… Randall excels at humor and pathos and makes a most powerful and provocative social statement.”—Women’s Studies

“Author, novelist, professor, social critic and hit country music songwriter Alice Randall enjoys confronting, exposing and subverting the contradictions, ironies and delights of the Southern experience. Whether it's race, class, gender, or cuisine, the characters and plots in such past Randall novels as The Wind Done Gone or Pushkin and the Queen of Spades tweak, satirize and sometimes just straight-out blitz both conventional and unconventional ideas about authenticity, class and race, and their manifest forms in the 21st century. Still, as good as those books are, they've just paved the way for Randall's latest, an innovative, captivating work that blends mystery, politics, philosophy, comedy and pointed observational barbs as it punctures any illusions about a post-racial's her sympathetic but acid-etched portrait of Jones, and his morphing into a Thomas Sowell or Armstrong Williams, that elevates Rebel Yell above a polemic along the lines of Michael Eric Dyson's heavy-handed takedown of Bill Cosby. Why didn't the specter of racial turmoil and conflict shape Abel Jones Jr.'s life in the manner of so many second-generation post-civil-rights leaders, who were nudged toward activism? That's among the many thorny questions Randall raises at a time when the afterglow of President Barack Obama's election has sparked the wishful thinking that our national dialogue on race is over, case closed.”—Nashville Scene

“But the real importance of Rebel Yell is as a critique aimed somewhere between the personal and the collective. Randall isn't looking to tear down one man, nor is she content with sawing off a mere branch of the black political spectrum. What she delivers is nothing less than a report on a sentiment that most blacks of the post-civil rights era likely—though few as baldly as Jones—silently entertain: the urge, in the face of the residual power of white America and the open hand it offers to blacks, to turn one's back on his past, to decline the challenge of straddling one, two, many cultures. With Obama now offering a light out of that particular tunnel, Randall's book could not be better timed. Rebel Yell should be heatedly debated by both blacks and whites. If it is, Randall will have done more than write a good book—she will have contribu...

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Customer Reviews

And good humor, sadness and lots of mystery.
Carleen Brice
The times and places that Alice sets the book are fascinating.
Adam G. Dvorsky
Instead, the way that it was written was very confusing.
K. Severinsen

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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2 of 2 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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After the first pages, I could not put this book down! Alice Randall is an extremely talented writer who keeps you thinking and guessing even after the book is finished. This is a great choice for a book club.
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