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The Darkest Child by [Phillips, Delores]
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The Darkest Child Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 632 customer reviews

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From the Publisher


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Phillips's searing debut reveals the poverty, injustices and cruelties that one black family suffers—some of this at the hands of its matriarch—in a 1958 backwater Georgia town. Thirteen-year-old Tangy Mae Quinn loves her mother, Rozelle, but knows there's "something wrong" with her—which, as it soon becomes clear, is an extreme understatement. As the novel opens, Rozelle is getting ready to give birth to her 10th child (by a 10th father) and thinking about forcing the obedient Tangy Mae, who longs to stay in school, to take over her housecleaning job. Using a large cast of powerfully drawn characters, Phillips captures life in a town that serves as a microcosm of a world on the brink of change. There's Junior, the perpetual optimist, who wants to teach people to read and write so they can understand the injustices of Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan; Hambone, a here today/gone tomorrow rabble-rouser whose anger against white men and their laws inflames those around him; and Miss Pearl, the only true friend to the Quinn family. At the dark heart of the story is Rozelle, the beautiful mixed-race head of the Quinn family whose erratic mood swings, heart-wrenching cruelty and deep emotional distress leave an indelible mark on all her children. Through all the violence and hardship breathes the remarkable spirit of Tangy Mae, who is wise beyond her years; forced to do unspeakable things by her mother and discriminated against by the town's whites, she manages to survive and to rescue a younger sister from the same fate.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Praise for The Darkest Child

Winner of the Black Caucus of the ALA Award
Nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award

 
“Filled with grand plot events and clearly identifiable villains and victims . . . lush with detail and captivating with its story of racial tension and family violence.”
The Washington Post Book World
 
The Darkest Child is an exceptional debut from a most talented writer. Epic in scope, intimate in tone, it is sure to find a special place in the deepest crevices of your heart.”
—Edwidge Danticat

 “Phillips writes with a no-nonsense elegance . . . As a vision of African-American life, The Darkest Child is one of the harshest novels to arrive in many years . . . [Phillips] buttresses those harsh episodes with a depth of characterization worthy of Chekhov, pitch-perfect dialogue, and a profound knowledge of the segregated South in the ’50s.”
The New Leader
 
“[An] exceptional debut novel . . . [Has] a depth and dimension not often characteristic of a first novel.”
Library Journal, Starred Review
 
 “Bold memorable characters and enough drama to keep you up all night wondering what can possibly happen next.”
The Black Book Review
 
 “Evil’s regenerative powers and one girl’s fierce resistance . . . A book that deserves a wide audience.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
 
“Horrific and gripping.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“Heart-rending.”
Dallas Morning News

“A fierce and bitter story, told with striking authority. Delores Phillips has created a family and a town rich with resonant voices, all of them caught up in struggles both personal and public, and a mother so wildly commanding she earns a place beside some of the great mad women who embitter the lives of the children who love them.”
—Rosellen Brown, author of Half a Heart and Civil Wars

“Extraordinary . . . Delores Phillips delivers a narrative with the kind of brutal force that renders the reader breathless . . . A commanding piece of work that will undoubtedly assume a place within a well-established literary tradition, and will place Phillips among a selective group of writers whose abilities as literary artists inspire and encourage conversation and creativity.”
Noir! African American Book Review

“[A] searing sebut . . . Using a cast of powerfully drawn characters, Phillips captures life in a town that serves as a microcosm of a world on the brink of change.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A grim tale, set in the dying days of segregation, about one young woman’s struggle to escape her past, her mother, and her duties . . . Phillips writes vividly.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“A brilliant, unnerving, memorable debut.”
—Caribbean Life

Product details

  • File Size: 899 KB
  • Print Length: 397 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press (January 1, 2005)
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2005
  • Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004HYHB4S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,056 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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