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On a Friday night in July 1979, the first victim in what would come to be called the Atlanta Child Murders disappeared. Over the course of two years, more than 40 African American children would die--abused, mutilated, strangled--before an arrest in 1981 apparently settled the issue. Wayne Williams, a black man, was accused, tried, and convicted of the murders, and the good citizens of Atlanta breathed easy again, assured that the crimes had not been racially motivated after all, and that the criminal was behind bars.
Or was he? In her posthumously published novel, Those Bones Are Not My Child, Toni Cade Bambara revisits the summer of 1980 and suggests a chilling alternative:
The terror is over, the authorities say. The horror is past, they repeat every day. There've been no new cases of kidnap and murder since the arrest back in June. You've good reason to know that the official line is a lie. But you sweep the walk briskly all the way to the hedge, as though in clearing the leaves you can clear from your mind all that you know. You'd truly like to know less. You want to believe. It is 3:23 on your Mother's Day watch. And your child is nowhere in sight.The protagonist of Bambara's novel is Marzala Rawls Spencer, an African American mother of three who is managing--just--to raise her family, hold down three jobs, and attend night school. When her 12-year-old son, Sundiata, doesn't return from a camping trip, Zala finds herself plunged into the nightmarish possibility that he has become the latest victim in the series of murders rocking the "City Too Busy to Hate." As she and her estranged husband, Spence, frantically attempt to discover what has happened to their child, the book takes them through the complicated morass of politics, race relations, and class that bedevil Atlanta--and perhaps obstruct the search for the true killer.
Bambara worked on Those Bones Are Not My Child for 12 years before her death in 1995. Toni Morrison edited the manuscript for publication, and though the occasional rough edge shows through, the well-drawn characters and inherent human drama in this stranger-than-fiction tale overcome its minor weaknesses. This is the novel Toni Cade Bambara will be remembered for, and rightly so. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
At the time of her death in 1995, acclaimed author, activist and educator Bambara (Gorilla, My Love; The Salt Eaters) had spent 12 years working on what her friend and editor Toni Morrison calls a "magnum opus." Bambara lived in Atlanta during the two years in which more than 40 children, mostly black boys under 15, were abducted and gruesomely murdered. Her luminous novel draws on a wealth of investigative material, historical detail and family stories, and puts to good use her gifts for passionate storytelling and incisive cultural criticism. The Spencer family, whose oldest son is missing, serves as the fictional anchor. When 12-year-old Sonny fails to come home one night, his anguished mother, Marzala, finds that the police have a pervasive lack of interest in her missing child. Zala and her estranged husband, Vietnam vet Spence, join the Committee to Stop Children's Murders, an activist citizens' group organized by Atlanta parents who are disillusioned with the authorities' indifference to the killings. The cast of characters includes the Spencers' friends, extended family, police, federal investigators, Atlanta officials and the STOP volunteers who search the city seeking leads and patterns, exploring Klan connections and suspicions of a child porn ring. Bambara's thorough re-creation of the STOP committee's work in the book's long middle section comes at the expense of narrative pacing; the story bogs down while the endless theories, tips, hunches and strategies take center stage. Two crucial developmentsAthe arrest of Wayne Williams and a fateful turn for SonnyArefocus the tale on the Spencers. The difficult truths they face are devastating. Bambara gives us an indelible, intimate and moving portrait of an American family, while at the same time producing a landmark work that achieves a potent immediacy as she sagaciously explores the far-reaching issuesAracial, personal, politicalAat stake in one of the 20th century's most horrifying murder cases. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Great only problem I had Is that my book had a dent on the back cover of the book I had received.Published 17 months ago by brandii Baugh
It is riveting. The book is very long, but it is hard to put down. I really feel like part of these characters' lives. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Robin K. Toulouse
an utter masterpiece!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!my fav author is toni morisson by far and this book had the same huge impact on me as the novels by Toni Morrison did.. Read morePublished on December 5, 2011 by supernova
I give the author respect for this novel, and I understand the frustration by some readers, that's why I hope the info that I give now will help you, "The List" by Chet Dettlinger... Read morePublished on May 27, 2011 by T. Boards
Those Bones Are Not My Child: A Novel by Toni Cade Bambara I'm yet yet finished but i am just so in to this novel, the details and account is just so real, it is amazingly painful... Read morePublished on November 16, 2010 by Mizkaja
This book will get you angry, make you feel sad, and have you thinking for days after each reading. Bambara based this fictional story on the Atlanta Child murders. Read morePublished on March 30, 2009 by Sherrie Miranda
I read the opening lines of this book in a book review and was hooked. The beginning chapter is so compelling and since I remember those days of the Atlanta Child Murders, I... Read morePublished on June 2, 2007 by A Reader
I plowed through Bambara's huge book on the subject of the Atlanta child murders - and I stuck with it out of a loyalty to two of my favorite writers: Bambara and Toni Morrison. Read morePublished on July 28, 2001
I was facinated to start reading about the Atlanta Child Murders but was extrememly disappointed in the way this book was written. Read morePublished on April 4, 2001