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Makeda by [Robinson, Randall]
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Makeda Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Length: 350 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"Eloquent and erudite, Robinson's oft-times mystical coming-of-age saga teems with rich and evocative historical insights."

"Hypnotic . . . one of the finest novels this year . . . [Robinson] is a gifted storyteller."

"Robinson writes with erudition about strange and wonderful matters."
--"Kirkus Reviews"

""Makeda" is beyond ambitious and imaginative . . . well written and powerful, with an ending that is equal parts tragic and romantic in nature . . . a breathtaking revelation, weighted with romance and lovely passionate prose."
--"New York Journal of Books"

"Robinson is not only exploring what it means to be black. His theme of knowing the past before planning the future applies to all cultures, all people. Pick up this odyssey of family drama, history and love, and be prepared to consider your own beginnings."
--"Shelf Awareness"

From the Inside Flap

"In Robinson's majestic prose and sweeping historical vision, the tongues of Virginia Woolf, Gabriel García Márquez, and Toni Morrison blend to remind us that we can renew our souls in the eyes of ancestors who return to us in whatever way our lives demand."—Michael Eric Dyson, author of Know What I Mean?

“Rich and detailed . . . Makeda is a lively and irresistible story about family and the coming-of-age of an intelligent black man in twentieth-century America. At once tender, intellectually daring, and emotionally unsettling, Makeda joins that short list of great American novels.”
—Kwame Dawes, award-winning author of She’s Gone

“I have always loved Randall Robinson, and with Makeda I love him more.”
—Bertice Berry, author of Redemption Song

“Above all is Robinson’s way with language; his development of characters who float mythically through a story of epic proportions.”
—Herb Boyd, author of Baldwin’s Harlem

Product Details

  • File Size: 844 KB
  • Print Length: 350 pages
  • Publisher: OpenLens (August 30, 2011)
  • Publication Date: August 30, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005H2S0IA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,732 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Evelyn Getchell TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every once in a great while I come across an extraordinary piece of fiction that serves as a valid passport into the private and intimate interior terrain of its author. Makeda is one of those special works of fiction. As I became absorbed in this highly spiritual tale, I felt as if I were stepping on sacred ground, given permission to enter an exclusive landscape, allowed to experience something holy and profound.

Randall Robinson's Makeda is a transparent window into the soul of the African American. Directed by the sense of the ancient, this exquisitely poignant novel explores and expands the identities of race, ethnic, religion, culture, gender and class.

With the vehicle of dreamwork infused with history, science, and spirituality, Robinson moves us through the strong and virulent world of racism, a world in which the proud and highly evolved people of noble Black African origins have been repeatedly exiled and displaced by slavery from the land of their ancestors. It is a vibrant reminder from the resonant voice of Makeda Gee Florida Harris March for the world to once again place the Black African at the heart of the universe.

Makeda Gee Florida Harris March is the wise and graceful matriarch of the March family, a small African American family in Richmond, Virginia -- poor but proud, hardworking and honest. The story begins in 1950 when the family, like most African American families, is embattled by the social ills that were virile in America during the 1950s.
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Format: Paperback
What could West African history and cosmology, the Queen of Sheba and early Christianity possibly have to do with a simple, blind, old woman, who is only moderately educated and has lived all her life in Richmond, Virginia? Quite a lot, you will find when you read Randall Robinson's thought-provoking and persuasive novel. Recognized for his extensive non-fiction writing on topics that range from African-American socio-politics to international human rights, Robinson ventures with Makeda into a world of fiction that transcends any genre definition of a traditional novel. It integrates a fictional memoir, a coming-of-age and a very tender love story with elements of magical realism and, combined, makes for a moving account of a personal and spiritual journey. Interwoven into these different narrative strands are discussions on African-American socio-political issues and a refresher course on aspects of African history.

At about ten years of age, Gray March "decided" to become a "writer". Having listened to his grandmother's stories since early childhood, "I began preparing to give this account of the fascinating events of my grandmother's life [...] She told me things she told no other living person." Mattie (Makeda) Gee Florida Harris March is indeed a very special person and her life's experiences not only enchant Gray, they provide much emotional and historical depth for this astounding and highly engaging novel. Gray, growing up in the nineteen fifties and sixties feels lonely and insecure; his parents appear to be emotionally stunted, weighed down by circumstances he will only come to understand much later. His grandma is the only person he trusts to tell "things I had told neither my brother Gordon nor Mama nor Daddy, things I thought they might not know how to take.
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By Read-A-Lot on September 15, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
By the title alone, if you are a reader who enjoys "factual" fiction you know you are in for a treat. The book is essentially a coming-of-age story, but told with a backdrop of African history. When and where have the Dogon been mentioned in a work of fiction? The thoughts that run through Gray's mind are certainly designed to be instructive to the reader. It is rare that a novel can be educational in regards to African history, and how it relates to the contemporary African-American but Makeda is that. Randall Robinson has hit a home run with his first novel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book made me want to do research and more research and more research. It was engaging and a wonderful read. I enjoyed the fact that he didn't dumb the book down and challenged my vocabulary (thank God for the definition feature on my Kindle). It was a journey across the years and a welcome change from "His"tory. Kudos Mr. Robinson, sorry I missed you at HueMan Bookstore.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book truly exceeded my expectations and I do set high expectations. It was a mystery , a love story and a lesson on black history. The relationship between the young man and his grandmother was touching and beautiful.I have already convinced my bookclub to select this book for discussion.This is my first book by this author but it will not be my last. I plan to read everything he wrote and will write.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Makeda" is a novel that tries to be several things at once: a bildungsroman of a young man struggling to find peace with his father and his own place in the world, an instructional text meant to correct historical misconceptions, and an inspirational guide to encourage readers to challenge received truths. The novel portrays one family's struggle to survive misfortune and one man's search for a stolen heritage. Alienated from his father and haunted by a tragedy, young Gray March finds both inspiration and instruction through his grandmother Makeda, who is physically blind yet spiritually transcendent, a soothsayer who reluctantly shares visions of past lives with her grandson. "For it was the white world who had made her mute, and, in the same stroke, rendered the non-Haitian black world deaf." Through Gray's quest for truth and his grandmother's revelations, readers are meant to understand that black Americans (in Robinson's words) "are all indissolubly bound up" with Africa.

As his novel juggles its trio of purposes--fiction, instruction, inspiration--Robinson's writing sometimes resembles in tone the proletarian novels of the 1930s, and this is both to its credit and its detriment. We are being enlightened, we are being instructed, we are being entertained--but the sermonizing results in some jarring dissonances. For example, when Makeda channels visions from her previous lives, her homespun conversational style falls away and her monologues (let's be frank) read as if they were adapted or abridged from various reference works--which, in fact, they were. "It was where I was a living as a thirty-year-old woman in the year 953. . . . Cordoba is the capital of a region called Andalusia.
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