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Narada's Children: A Visionary Tale of Two Cities Paperback – September 9, 2015
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About the Author
Woody Carter is a narrative theologian who holds a doctorate in theology, religion, and the arts from the Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley, California.
Carter has served as an associate professor in the Bachelor of Arts Completion Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and as an instructor in theater arts at several community colleges in the Bay Area.
He is a retired executive director of the Bay Area Black United Fund, an identity-based philanthropy in Oakland, California, and the author of the nonfiction work Theology for a Violent Age: Religious Beliefs Crippling African-American Youth. He divides his time between living in the Bay Area and Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands.
For information about current activities of Critical Mass Health Conductors, visit the Bay Area Black United Fund’s website at www.babuf.org.
Top customer reviews
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Narada is a traveler and a stranger when he first meets the lovely Hohete and her people in the ancient city of Ja'Usu. Given water, food and shelter by Hohete's family, Narada is sharply questioned by village elders who are stymied by his forthright statement that he is a representative of a deity named The Great Mystery. So they conspire to remake him as a storyteller, to reduce his power and profit from his talent for spinning yarns by selling refreshments to his audience.
Narada hoodwinks them, though. He gathers all the people, even the despised Oromo beggars, arranges for the poor to be given food instead of buying it. He then weaves a wondrous story of another city, Oakland, California, in the early twenty-first century; there, Arthur Renfro, a community activist, is trying to improve conditions for his fellow African Americans.
The people of Ja'Usu are magically able to "see" the story as Narada tells it, becoming immersed in the strange ways of a civilization where women have power, and rejected groups like the Oromo may be objects of social concern, not disapprobation.
Narada subtly constructs his parable, measuring the relative power of religion, psychiatry, and social change to improve individual lives and using Ja'Usu and Oakland as contrasting examples. In Oakland, Arthur Renfro proposes meditation as a radical method to resolve the deep inner conflict within the spirits of his people. In Ja'Usu, the tale of Arthur’s quest for equality and aid for minorities will gradually break down ancient taboos, presenting the potential of liberation for women like Hohete, and for the oppressed Oromo.
Narrative theologian and author Woody Carter has worked with organizations concerned with the welfare of African Americans like those he depicts in "Narada's Children."
Carter’s use of language is enchanting and emotive, evoking folk memory like a tribal griot. Like his audience in the fire-lit square of Ja'Usu, readers will be lulled and lured into his tale, and see, perhaps, how their own perceptions accord with "the imperishable records of celestial light" from which the Narada draws his wisdom.
Through the interactions of people in two great cities—one ancient, one modern—"Narada's Children" explores the universal value of genuine fairness and equality. Masterfully written, this uplifting and encouraging work is a spiritually transporting tale that is much needed by those of all races and creeds--especially in today’s turbulent times.
Weaved a story around culture. ...diversity and Belief.......
With character's that represent Diversity with dignity and Substance. ..
Woody has woven two fascinating dramatic narratives and uses the personage of Narada to connect the people of Ja’Usu to the African-American community in present day Oakland. Narada is a master story teller who enchants his listeners in Africa with a seven-day long tale about a future people and future events in another hemisphere. Woody has an excellent ear for dialog. Characters and situations in both cities feel very believable. As readers, we are also enchanted with the people and events in both eras and locations; and suddenly, we discover that we, the readers, are also being brought along on a spiritual journey that doesn’t reveal itself until we’re caught up in the narrative. Woody has used the same techniques as his story teller to ensnare us in his own story! This is why I so thoroughly enjoyed the book.
I’ve would take away a half a star because I felt that there were some superfluous details in the Oakland story; I also believe that some of the dramatic interchanges could have been tightened up. I think Woody Carter has done a remarkable job for a first-time novelist and I look forward to reading more from this man of many talents.