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Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (Harvest American Writing Series) Paperback – Bargain Price, June 4, 1993


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Paperback, Bargain Price, June 4, 1993
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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest American Writing Series
  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (June 4, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156505150
  • ASIN: B004J8HWMS
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,494,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A gallery of lovers, losers, dreamers and misfits roil the North Carolina farm town of Tims Creek in Kenan's book of imaginative, unpredictable stories, which was nominated for the NBCC fiction award.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

A gallery of lovers, losers, dreamers and misfits roil the North Carolina farm town of Tims Creek in Kenan's book of imaginative, unpredictable stories, which was nominated for the NBCC fiction award.
(Publishers Weekly )

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
Don't be fooled by the label of "short" stories. These twelve tales are as packed with brilliance as any long book of fiction. Kenan uses a mystical voice to convey the sometimes sad, sometimes happy, and always intriguing point of view of Southern Americans. A must read for anyone who seriously is interested in reaching a full understanding of the South
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By forrestframingham on October 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was lucky enough to have Randall Kenan as a teacher for a college fiction class, some seven years ago. I have read books by former teachers which I have not been enthralled with, and then there's Let The Dead Bury Their Dead. Seven years have gone by, and there are aspects of the stories contained in this collection that are never far from my mind. The elderly woman teacher, Mabel, who is going crazy. Mabel, Mabel, Mabel. The woman whose grandson dies, who then meets his lover, and struggles. The woman luxuriating in the bathtub, listening to Al Green sing Let's Stay Together, as she thinks of her young lover. One measure of a book is how it stays with you. I assume I will take Let The Dead Bury Their Dead to the grave.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
What can I say? From the first story to the last (my favorite, a mesmerizing tale about a former slave who achieves a mythic quality to his life) this collection of stories is brilliant. It is a consistently inventive, intelligent, and passionate account of the fantastic, mystical, and ordinary lives in a small Southern town. Keep writing, Mr. Kenan. I, for one, await a follow-up to this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on July 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
In these short stories, Randall Kenan makes the people of Tims Creek so real that one expects to take a map and go meet them. These are "real" people with a history, with folklore, with religion, with complex relationships. The stories explore a variety of situations - the hypocritical preacher, the family accepting the sexual orientation of a son, the "perfect woman" snapping under the pressures of "perfection," the double-crossed and financially strapped worker, religious law vs. the reality of a hard-scramble life, new life from a May-December affair ... It is in the selection of detail that Kenan excells - the history of Tims Creek refers to well known gospel hymns that perfectly identify the tone of community. Or the mother proud of her son, a medical research doctor in Salt Lake City who would be more proud if he'd stayed in North Carolina. Or the cadences of a southern preacher in internal dialogue - " Fire. Nostrils. The four winds. Breath. Her breath. Some days atale, some days swwet, some days stinking of fish and onions."

These are stories that stay with the reader, begging to be read and reread.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maurice Williams on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
This collection of shorts helps me remember why I like stories; especially those steeped in folklore and mysticism and myth. "Let The Dead Bury Their Dead" is a collection of stories set in the small town of Tims Creek, North Carolina. The town's lore is revealed through the characters of each story as Kenan explores their lives and history in Tims Creek. The opening story, "Clarence and the Dead", puts the reader on notice that there's nothing ordinary about Tims Creek and its inhabitants. A talking hog and a "touched" child gives us our first glimpse of the people and the town; "On the day Clarence Pickett died, Wilma Jones's hog Francis stopped talking." Soon after learning of Clarence's death, we're given the story of his birth; "They say that day the sun shone while the rain poured . . . the day Estell Pickett died giving birth to Clarence." Entering the world under these circumstances is tragic enough until Kenan puts us in the birthing room. In a voice steeped in the lush sounds and cadence of the south, the scene unfolds - "We all arrived at the Pickett place at the same time as the midwife. We walked in on one of the most hideous sights we can remember seeing or hearing tell of: there lay Estelle on the bed, her legs apart, her eyes rolled back in her head, her body kind of twisted to the side in a pool so deep red it could have been a maroon sheet she was sitting on instead of white; and on the floor squalling like a stuck pig was Clarence, a twitching, pitiful little thing, in a soup of blood and purple mess and s**t."

Kenan's writing never waivers. The voice is familiar. Recognizable, I would think, by any African American of southern roots where family history is passed down through stories shared at family reunions and holiday dinners.
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