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Glorious Paperback – May 1, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

McFadden, in her powerful seventh novel, tells the story of Easter Bartlett as she journeys from the violent Jim Crow South to the promise of the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement. Along the way, Easter forms relationships with both products of McFadden's imagination and actual historical figures: Rain, the sensuous and passionate dancer in Slocum's Traveling Brigade, a troupe that traveled the backwoods entertaining negroes; Colin, Easter's husband, who is provoked by a duplicitous friend into assassinating the Universal Negro Improvement Association leader, Marcus Garvey; Meredith, Easter's untrustworthy benefactor; and many more, including poet Langston Hughes, pianist Fats Waller, and shipping heiress Nancy Cunard. McFadden (Sugar) weaves rich historical detail with Easter's struggle to find peace in a racially polarized country, and she brings Harlem to astounding life: The air up there, up south, up in Harlem, was sticky sweet and peppered with perfume, sweat, sex, curry, salt meat, sautéed chicken livers, and fresh baked breads. Easter's hope for love to overthrow hate—and her intense exposure to both—cogently stands for America's potential, and McFadden's novel is a triumphant portrayal of the ongoing quest. (May)
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From Booklist

After her sister’s rape and her mother’s death of a broken heart, Easter walked away from Waycross, Georgia, and spent most of the rest of her life trying to walk away from pain and hate. She’d witnessed a lynching, joined a traveling vaudeville show, and fallen in love with a heartless woman, before she eventually ended up in Harlem just on the brink of its renaissance. She is there when Marcus Garvey is enthralling crowds of black folks longing for a respite from racism in America, including her West Indian–born husband, and when striving writers are finding white benefactors. She joins in the ebb and flow of life in Harlem, rising and falling, sorting out her emotions and the sundry heartaches of life in her writing, until she is caught in a scandal that ends the glorious if unstructured life she has been living. McFadden interweaves fiction with the historic period of the Harlem Renaissance in this novel about a woman’s struggle against hate and disappointment. --Vanessa Bush
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936070111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936070114
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #598,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Glorious by Bernice McFadden grabbed me by the throat from the very first page and would not let me go until I was done. I continued to sit the book aside, because I did not want it to end too soon. Ms. McFadden has written a glorious story that is a wonderful juxtaposition of the present and the past, the truth and fiction.

Easter Bartlett's life starts out pretty hard in Waycross, Georgia. In 1910 she sees her sister violated, her father emasculated and her mother dead due to a broken heart. And from that day forward Easter does what she does best, she leave, she moves on. There is restlessness in her spirit that will not allow her to stay anyplace when her heart tells her to move on. The only thing that provides her with peace is reading and writing. We watch Easter as she travels from the South to New York and we get to see the people she fall in love with. There is Rain, a woman who loves women that Easter loves but they are never lovers. There is Colin, the man Easter loves and marries who loses his way after being betrayed. And there is Meredith, the Negrophile, who befriends and betrays Easter in ways unimaginable. Mostly, there is the brief, yet wonderful career Easter had as a wonderful writer in that period known as the Harlem Renaissance.

Glorious is as wonderful literary treat that will have the reader's eyes flying over the pages, envisioning every situation. And it is also a wonderful book filled with history lessons. I recommend Glorious to all readers who love wonderful books.

Angelia Menchan
APOOO BookClub
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What defines a great book? It is the ability to see, feel, and experience all that the characters are going through. It's reading passages that makes you want to reach into the pages to protect, shake up, or hug characters that are so well drawn, you feel as though you know them. It's a story that doesn't offer a happy ending, but no doubt, a real one. "Glorious" is that type of book. Bernice McFadden tells the story of Easter with unflinching and unapologetic honesty. There were so many times when I wanted so much more for Easter, but Ms. McFadden kept it truthful with a realness that was almost heartbreaking. "Glorious" is multi-leveled and an incredible read, full of historical facts and as timely today as when the story took place in the last century. It is surely destined to become a classic in years to come. Congratulations Ms. McFadden. Your star continues to burn brightly, a beacon for us all...

Margaret Johnson-Hodge
Author of "Red Light Green Light"
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Format: Paperback
From the dirt roads of Waycross, Georgia to the busy streets of Harlem, Bernice McFadden once again delivers perfection in her latest novel, Glorious. With actual historical events playing in the background, we are introduced to Easter Bartlett and her family.

The historic "Fight of the Century" between Jack Johnson and James Jeffries sets in motion a series of events that eventually push Easter out of Georgia and eventually land her in Harlem. Much mention is made of Marcus Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association. A story set in Harlem at such a time would be incomplete with referencing the Harlem Renaissance and Ms. McFadden deftly weaves in noted members of the Renaissance, including A'lelia Walker, daughter of Madame CJ Walker and a patron of the arts, and Langston Hughes. Others such as Claude McKay and Carl Van Vechten are also mentioned.

With writing as rich and vivid as only she can do it, Ms. McFadden draws you into the life of Easter Bartlett and doesn't release you easily. Though their stories are not the same, I couldn't help but to compare Easter Barlett to Wallace Thurman's Emma Lou Brown from The Blacker the Berry, with both women seeking refuge in Harlem. I found myself yearning to read this while at the same time putting it down in order to savor it and prolong the inevitable end. While I usually give away books that I've already read, this is one that will have to stay in my library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are good books and there are simply books, "Glorious" falls into neither category. Ms. McFadden has taken keyboard to fingers and has presented us with a great book, in the league of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Ralph Ellison great.

Unfolding the chapters is like watching a master chef whip up a culinary feast and you sit there salivating over each newly added, exotic ingredient. Her pulse pounding prose left me frustrated as I couldn't flick the pages quickly enough to find out the next fixating moment.

Ms. McFadden has always possessed an immaculate and stellar quality this is obvious in such works as "Sugar" and "This Bitter Earth". She far exceeds herself this time concocting a special magic in this novel that sends my mind many times racing back to the early works of Toni Morrison. Like anything that's delightful you want it to last and linger. I find myself pulling away from the pages, just so I can savor its sweetness another day. Thanks so much Ms. McFadden for this beautiful gift of artistry.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I would like to give this book four and three quarter stars if I could but since the rating scale doesn't allow that, it gets five stars. I loved the beginning which shows that life is like a domino effect. One incident causes another incident which causes another incident and the chips just keep falling. McFadden did an excellent job creating memorable, empathetic characters most of whom depended on each other and ultimately betrayed each other. Easter, the main character, grew up in the Jim Crow South. She witnessed so many atrocities against her people including members of her family that all she wanted to do was get away. One way to escape was through her writing. She finally escapes but finds that life is no easier in the North. She meets a variety of people, some of whom, I thought were too exaggerated or over the top. The plot, nevertheless, kept me glued to the page. I wanted Easter to find lasting peace, success, happiness, but "the dream deferred" (Langston Hughes) followed her relentlessly. The ending was unsatisfactory for me and depressing. I know that in real life there isn't always a happy ending, but I wanted so much for Easter's dream to come true.
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