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Perfect Peace: A Novel Hardcover – March 16, 2010
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Black (The Sacred Place) explores the fateful decision of Emma Jean Peace to raise her seventh son, Perfect, as the daughter she has always wanted. Her plan, nutty as it is, works out until Perfect is eight years old and his blind older brother, Bartimaeus, makes an innocent discovery about his sister's body. Soon after, Perfect's friends begin talk of womanhood, prompting Emma Jean to reveal to Perfect the truth. So begins an education for Perfect—rechristened Paul—on manhood while his small Arkansas town casts an unforgiving eye on its newest curiosity. While the rural South backdrop is overly familiar and the dialogue is painfully hoary (What chu talkin' 'bout, Emma Jean?), Black manages a nuanced exploration of sexual identity and social structures without elevating his characters to angels or martyrs. (Mar.)
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“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 was a complete lunatic but she really meant well. I felt so bad for her going up with such a bitchy mother.....Her crazy mother literally changed the course of her daughter life and her grandchildren lives. We sure can't pick the families that we have but I'm doubtful that any child wouldn’t have chosen Emma Jean or her crazy ass mother! Poor Perfect (Paul) living in a small town filled with a bunch of Christian hypocrites.....This story was great but so sad on so many levels