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The Wind Done Gone: A Novel Hardcover – June, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Think of Margaret Mitchell's epic Gone with the Wind condensed and told from the perspectives of Mammy and the Tara slaves, and you have Randall's debut novel. This sometimes cryptic but always fascinating story is narrated by Cynara (also Cinnamon or Cindi), the daughter of a slave and a white plantation owner. As the story unfolds, we learn of Cynara's hatred of the white half-sister she calls Other and the privileges bestowed upon Other yet denied Cynara even though they are raised side by side. Both sisters vie for the attentions of Mammy (Cynara's mother and Other's nanny) as children, and for the love of the same man as adults. Through the eyes of Cynara and the other now freed slaves, we get unique perspectives of life on a Southern plantation and of the Reconstruction era. Randall, an established country songwriter, uses language and idiom to haunting and poetic effect. Fans of Toni Morrison's Beloved will enjoy this well-written historical fiction. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/01; a trust for Margaret Mitchell's heirs has filed an injunction to stop this book's publication as a violation of copyright. Ed.] Karen Traynor, Sullivan Free Lib., Chittenango, N.
- Karen Traynor, Sullivan Free Lib., Chittenango, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Randall's brilliant first novel tells some of what Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind left untold about the racial underbelly of southern gentility. Cynara is Scarlett O'Hara's half-sister, the child of Captain O'Hara and Mammy, before she made herself sexually unavailable under her enormous weight. Cynara's diary of life as a mulatto at Tara and during Reconstruction reveals jealousy, resentment, hypocrisy, well-guarded family secrets, and personal redemption. She writes of her transformation from resentful slave to independent-minded woman, recalling especially her father's treachery as, unable to bear freeing her, he sells her away from her home to avoid her inevitable fate as bedmate to Scarlett's husband. Yet, through a twist of fate, Cynara ends up in a brothel frequented by Rhett Butler. In Randall's South, slaves aren't childish simpletons but clever manipulators with much more depth and texture of character than Mitchell allowed them in her portrayal of a South without racial brutality and miscegenation. Through Cynara, Randall speaks poignantly for those habitually forgotten or silenced in the history of the Old South. She risks being silenced herself, however, for the trust that owns the copyright for Gone with the Wind is suing to block publication of The Wind Done Gone, and a trust attorney has accused Randall of "wholesale theft of major characters."

Editor's note: As Booklist goes to press, it has been announced that a federal district court in Atlanta has granted an injunction blocking publication of Randall's novel. Houghton Mifflin will appeal the injunction. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


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Product Details

  • Series: .
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (June 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061810450X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618104505
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (288 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

156 of 182 people found the following review helpful By The Pete VINE VOICE on February 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
GWTW certainly was one-sided in its portrayal of the Old South, and I can see how that could be a deal killer for a lot of readers. Although I consider GWTW to be one of the greatest pieces of American literature ever written, I was VERY excited by the idea of TWDG. The idea of building a "back story" around the black characters in Mitchell's novel is BRILLIANT! So much could be done with this idea to address issues of race and slavery, as well as to broadside a popular piece of American literature through counterpoint.

Unfortunately, this great idea is wasted because Randall is utterly lacking in talent. The thing that immediately bothered me about TWDG is the extraordinarily poor use of dialect. One sentence has the main character narrating in perfect grammar with strong vocabulary and then in the next sentence she's all "he do dat" and "me go sleep." Randall should have picked one voice for her main character and stuck with it. This alone represents terrible hack writing, but I must go on and say something about the (snicker) "plot."

The plot, which should be subversive and controversial, fails to rise above the trashy romance novel level, and the (I think they're supposed to be shocking) sex scenes wouldn't shock anyone except my Amish Aunt Minnie. I actually laughed out loud several times as I read them because I pictured Clark Gable/Rhett Butler saying some of this ridiculous dialogue.

The plot here is so flaccid that Randall inadvertently undermines her own book. The white characters remain more interesting than any of the black characters. This despite the fact Randall gives them tons of dirty linen to air in an obvious (and pathetic) attempt to make them interesting.
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133 of 161 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The author and accompanying media seem to imply that if you dislike this book, you are clinging to a pro-slavery fictional South portrayed in "Gone with the Wind," that you are being stodgy and unwilling to face facts.
Can I dislike this book just because it was really bad?
Sadly, this volume was not worth the highly-publicized legal battle that was waged over it. Though described as an unauthorized parody from the African-American POV of the time, this book is an utter failure. (Did I mention the title is also pretty bad?)
The book centers on the mulatto half-sister of GWTW lead Scarlett O'Hara, Cynara. Cynara is the daughter of Captain O'Hara ("Planter") and Mammy, Scarlett's strong-minded, down-to-earth nursemaid. "The Wind Done Gone" chronicles Cynara's life in Tara and in the post-Civil War Reconstruction, where she is raised alongside her glamorous half-sister but denied the same love, attention and privileges. Then "Planter" sells her, and she ends up in a brothel. Ironically, one frequenter of the brothel is Rhett Butler, the dashing handsome husband of Scarlett (who is constantly--and irritatingly--referred to as "Other"). She becomes his long-term lover, and naturally we are supposed to sympathize with Cynara and not with "Other..."
Where to begin?
Despite the red sticker on the cover, this is not a parody: a parody indicates humor or satire, of which this book has neither. It's too relentlessly self-conscious of Its Mission to be truly amusing, and too heavy-handed to be a successful satire.
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91 of 118 people found the following review helpful By "minxkitty" on July 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Who in the publisher's house doesn't know the meaning of "parody"? This book is not a parody of "Gone with the Wind" but a moving companion piece to the GWTW world of Margaret Mitchell.
For almost seventy years, we have had Mitchell's view on the old South, the heroine Scarlett O'Hara and "Wind Done Gone" is an amazing work of fiction on the African-American point of view, its heroine, Cynara, Scarlett's half-sister.
The story is told in first person, stream of consciousness, which may be difficult for some to follow, as the author weaves back through Cynara's memories and revelations. Stream of consciousness isn't as straight-forward as a point by point, outlined presentation, but more realistic presents the human experience. I feel the author's style, presenting this as Cynara's diary is a wonderful way to tell this story.
There are some surprises along the way as Alice Randall gives detail to some of Mitchell's characters that were lesser characters to Scarlett and Rhett in GWTW. Not only the twists that change Mammy and Prissy from old derogitory stereotypes, but the detail she spins into the characters of Gerald and Ellen O'Hara, Scarlett's parents. Ellen, here called "Lady", is more interesting here than in the original, I think!
For those who are so affronted that a new frame of reference is given to a historical period, and a **work of fiction**-- well, no book is for "every one". However, look at any other real event in American history - in any country's history - in any one's life- and there is always more than one point of view!!! The original accounts of "Custer's Last Stand" from the Caucasian point of view were vastly different than the Native Americans' account of the battle.
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