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Perfect Peace: A Novel Paperback – December 6, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“A high-spirited, compassionate look at everyone's longings for perfection, both inside and out.” ―The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Black effortlessly conveys Paul's agony over his inner shame and what the world sees on the outside. It's painful to see how his father also struggles to accept as a son the child he had once adored as a girl. For the Peace family, the end of Perfect is akin to the death of a loved one.” ―San Antonio Express-News
“Daniel Black understands the racial psychology and culture of the South so well that he can show, not tell, and his characters' actions always ring true. This novel is a powerful exploration of a small group of individuals who hold each other in high regard. The love among members of this family is severely challenged, but the challenge is triumphantly met. Each child grows to manhood and achieves success according to his gifts. Through their lives we experience disappointment and sorrow, but also fulfillment and joy. Perfect Peace is an intense and satisfying read.” ―Greg Iles, New York Times bestselling author of The Devil's Punchbowl
“Daniel Black writes of growing up in a small town with humor, grace and forgiveness.” ―Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of Very Valentine and the Big Stone Gap Series
“Craft is not the word for this joyfully inscribed novel. The proper word is art. The book is a brave and complicated story perfectly told. Mr. Black offers a cultural gift to be welcomed.” ―Houston A. Baker, Jr., author of American Book Award winning Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals have abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era
“Perfect Peace is a morality tale of the consequences of letting our selfish needs trap the ones we love into roles they weren't born to play. The characters here are as flawed, their sins numerous, as any living human being held under the lens, but the author brings a compassion and understanding to their plights.” ―Mat Johnson, award-winning author of Incognegro, Drop, and Hunting in Harlem
“Daniel Black has pried open the isolated lives of rural southerners, allowing us to peek inside. To understand the complexities of the southern experience, read Perfect Peace.” ―Dr. Karyn Lacy, professor of Sociology, University of Michigan, author of Blue Chip Black: Race, Class, and Status in the New Black Middle Class
“Mr. Black's novel nudges our sense of awareness and accountability. His narrative eloquently poses difficult questions with disarming kindness: ‘Do you know who you are? Do you know what you do? Do you know that there is never an excuse?' The relevance of this work with regard to all we are and all we do far exceeds his adroitly simple telling of the tale.” ―Keith Hamilton Cobb, actor
“Part cautionary tale, part folk tale, part fable, Daniel Black's Perfect Peace is a complete triumph. It bursts with emotions as intense as opera. Perfect Peace will bring you to tears and laughter. You will recognize characters from your own life, and perhaps even recognize yourself. In Emma Jean Peace, a mid-20th-Century rural Southern black woman who wants a daughter so desperately that she raises her infant son as a girl, Dr. Black has created a character as complex, equivocal and unforgettable as Scarlett O'Hara.” ―Larry Duplechan, author of Blackbird, Captain Swing, and the Lambda Literary Award-winning Got 'Til It's Gone
Top Customer Reviews
Emma Jean marries Gustavus "Gus" Peace and from their union six sons are born. Pregnant with number seven, Emma Jean feels deep in her heart she will be blessed with a girl; a daughter she will love and cherish, unlike the way she was treated as a child. As fate will have it, she gives birth to a son; a beautiful son she will easily disguise as a girl and name Perfect. For eight years, sweet, adorable Perfect was the apple of her brothers' eyes and her parents' pride and joy. However, Emma Jean and Perfect's world is shattered when Perfect's true identity is discovered. Perfect's name is changed to Paul and he is forced to start living his life as a boy.
PERFECT PEACE grabs the reader in a tight hold and doesn't release them until the last page. Black's graphic writing allowed my mental images of the time and place in Swamp Creek, Arkansas flow through my mind with ease. The colorful, flawed characters and intricate story line caused my emotions to soar to different heights in various sections of the story; laughter, anger, happiness, and tears. PERFECT PEACE is a spectacular, soul-stirring literary gem!!!
Reviewed by Sharon Lewis
of The RAWSISTAZ(tm) Reviewers
Overall this is a book about love, true beauty, the ties that bind, and perseverance of the human spirit. It may be a work of fiction, but the emotions you will experience as you read this novel are genuine indeed.
When Emma Jean Peace decides to raise her seventh son as a girl, she sets in motion a series of events that she hopes will contribute unto her liberation. Sadly, her freedom results in the bondage of her daughter, Perfect. Though her sins are numerous, one sympathizes with Emma Jean while at the same time praying for Perfect's successful transition into manhood. Though the novel's issues are complex, Black presents these issues in a simplistic kind of way while simultaneously offering the avid reader a literary challenge. The book is a quick read, yet I left the experience transformed!