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Not Without Laughter (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – April 4, 2008


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Not Without Laughter (Dover Thrift Editions) + The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes (Vintage Classics) + The Ways of White Folks: Stories (Vintage Classics)
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition (April 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486454487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486454481
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is another in the new Scribner Paperback Fiction line. Poet Hughes made the jump to fiction with this 1930 first novel of an African American boy's coming of age in a small Kansas town.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

It was a great story of hardships and joy.
Nora Adams Sapp
Despite his considerable output of poetry, short stories and autobiographical work, this is Langston Hughes' only novel.
Eric Anderson
It is a precious story of African American life and of growing up.
Robin Friedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Eric Anderson on August 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
Despite his considerable output of poetry, short stories and autobiographical work, this is Langston Hughes' only novel. It is the tremendously crafted story of Sandy, a black child of the 1920s in rural Kansas. In poignant tightly written chapters, Hughes' depicts various events in Sandy's life often slipping into the perspective of those closest to him. Sandy lives most his life with his strong-willed and deeply religious grandmother Aunt Hager. She is a benevolent woman who desires peaceful racial relations despite the overwhelming amount of racism and discrimination professed by both white and black community members. Sandy's mother Annjee is a loving and hard working woman eternally devoted to her husband Jimboy who is a good hearted man constantly on the move. Sandy's aunt Tempy is a well-off woman trying to immerse herself in white society and denigrating her own race in the process. His other aunt Harriett is a wilful woman who turns from the church for a different kind of existence. Through these expertly drawn characters, Sandy views their examples and he must make the choices that will effect his future. The novel is a tremendous chronicle of the struggle of a family to survive financially. It gives accounts of the psychological dilemma created by growing in a racially divided society and the diffuse joy in life that can be found even in troubling circumstances.
Maya Angelou wrote of Not Without Laughter: "This book was written when preachers had to be poets and poets were preachers, because they needed to be available to all the people all the time." The messages this novel gives are not subtle. But, through its varied perspectives and eloquently written prose, it envelops the issues it preaches with emotionally edifying ideas.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
Langston Hughes is a truly gifted writer. In this story he shows six different characters, all afflicted by racism and the numerous tactics each devises to combat its force. Their methods include,hating white america, enduring the blow, assimilating, laughing in the faces and then there is Sandy...He is slowing coming of age amidst all of these adults that he loves and admires, but soon he shall have to pick a path of his own. He knows that he must fight against the threat of racisim with out developing so much anger it consumes him as well. He knows must stand up for the race and culture he loves and some how advance his people with the power of his life. This story, is one of the best depictions of a black family that I have come across and can relate to. I miss Langston, and I love his legacy.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Edward Fulton, Jr. on January 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you're not a Langston Hughes fan-once you read this book you'll be a fan for life. I guarantee you'll want to read everything he's ever written. Wait until you discover" Simple". Not without Laughter took me back in time to a small southern town and the loving, secure, life defining relationship I shared with my grandmother.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bethanie Frank on September 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Such heart! I have read his poetry, but I had never read his prose. So smooth, so wonderful. I adore the characters. They followed me throughout the day. This is written so well, I really felt like I was right there. I also ran through a gamut of emotions while reading this. That's what a book should do - make me feel, make me think, make me wonder... This book did that for me.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Katie on December 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I cannot stress enough how much I like this book, and all of Langston Hughes' writings. He is my favorite author, poet, playright and I always enjoy his work. No mattter what race you are (I myself happen to be white), you should be able to realize the social importance of all of Langston Hughes' work. This particular book really sheds light on the plight of so many black people that really isn't tought to young people. The progression that all the characters make in this book is really written quite well. I liked the fact that the book took place over a long period of time. Also, there are some events and plots that are unexpected, but definitely realistic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Briana Littleton on March 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book was interesting and provided a genuine sense of life for blacks during the early part of this century. It started slow but towards the middle of the book the pace picked up and I enjoyed it more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on August 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 - May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry. (quoted from wikipedia)
This novel, published in 1930, covers the life of a colored boy in Kansas, during the early 20th century. It is mostly plain but beautiful prose, but sometimes it derails into blues texts and other songs. The poet can't deny his calling.

Storms!
Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri. I picked up this book from my Mount Readme for no better reason than Irene battering the east coast and super- taifun Nanmadol approaching East China. It seemed the right time to read a novel that starts with a twister which carries grandmother's front porch into orbit, written by a man from Joplin, of all places.
A secondary motive: I just read O'Neill's lamentably flawed play `All God's Chillun Got Wings' and felt like getting a more competent look at chillun from somebody with more insight.

Poverty and racism are parts of this life, but it is not all misery. This life is not without laughter, ambitions and successes. Music and church are core elements of life. Music means the blues, it means dance music, and it means gospel. The family is divided in Christians and sinners, thinks grandmother. She had been born in slavery and now lives a precarious life as a washer of white people's dirty laundry. She is a magnanimous soul. (... I's been sorry fo' white folks, fo' I knows something inside must be aggravatin' de po' souls...).
Sandy, the boy, grows up in his grandmother's house. The father is often absent, working or bumming elsewhere.
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