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The Rib King: A Novel Hardcover – January 19, 2021

4.0 out of 5 stars 91 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The novel goes far beyond a story of revenge. It is an engrossing account of Black genius and entrepreneurship in the early 20th century." -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Ladee Hubbard’s sophomore novel, The Rib King, is a fascinating story about the intersection of ambition, race and revenge. . . Hubbard crafts unforgettable characters and masterfully builds suspense.” -- Washington Post

“Hubbard delivers a dazzling tour-de-force in this richly painted, perfectly timed meditation on privilege and fury.” -- Booklist (starred review)

“Hubbard’s own superpower is her gift for building extraordinary worlds that examine troubled periods of America’s past while shedding light on the unquestionable innovation and determination of African Americans who, perhaps improbably, thrived within them.” -- Los Angeles Times

“One will be impressed at all times with Hubbard’s control over her historical milieu as well as her complicated, intriguing characterizations. . . . An imaginative work craftily depicting the failure of imagination that is American racism.” -- Kirkus Reviews

"Finely written and worth a second read, this novel would be a fantastic choice for book discussion groups. With complete faithfulness to the text, it could also make an excellent movie." -- Library Journal (starred review)

"Hubbard’s latest cements her status as an American original." -- Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Ladee Hubbard is the author of The Talented Ribkins, which received the 2018 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. Her writing has appeared in Guernica, the Times Literary Supplement, Copper Nickel, and Callaloo. She received a 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award as well as fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Art Omi, the Sacatar Foundation, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Born in Massachusetts and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida, she currently lives in New Orleans with her husband and three children.


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Product details

  • Publisher : Amistad (January 19, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 384 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 006297906X
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0062979063
  • Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6 x 1.21 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 91 ratings

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4.0 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5
91 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on April 17, 2021
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Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2021
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Reviewed in the United States on March 6, 2021
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Reviewed in the United States on January 19, 2021
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4.0 out of 5 stars Literary Time Travel; A Unique Epic
By Mr&amp;Mrs on January 19, 2021
In many ways this book is epic, bringing to mind The Thorn Birds of decades ago. Here's why. It is an ambitious novel that covers a lot of ground under the umbrella of American history, race relations, and social commentary. However, what I liked was that the commentary was not heavy handed but a viable part of the plot. Facts are woven in to the conversations of very believable characters from the early 1900's. I recommend this book to adults not because of subject matter or language but because the pacing and writing style seem more like an adult book. At times, it is a slow build to the action; thus my four stars.

Mr. Pound and Mr. Barclay, for example, are Southern white gentlemen (supposedly gentlemen, by the standards of that era and location) who openly discuss the characteristics of good servants: the poor Irish "often prove surly" while they are sure that "perfectly respectable colored will happily work as a servant." They think nothing of saying this in front of Mr. Barclay's Black cook. Then, Barclay seeks Mamie's confirmation of his opinion. The reader will cringe, sensing Mamie's discomfort and her need to play along with the men's faux intellectual analysis of genetic aptitude.

Much of the book is like that scene. Although told with a third-person narrator, the experiences seem more in alignment with and from the perspective of the servants: Black groundskeeper, Mr. Sitwell, and maid ,Jennie Williams. Their lives intersect for a while during employment at the lavish but struggling Barclay estate. The struggles stem from living beyond one's means as well as Mr. Barclay's gambling debts.

This book's older characters have vague memories of the Underground Railroad, and the plot seamlessly incorporates very realistic portrayals of the struggles of Black Americans to make a decent living as free citizens. Equally realistic is the portrayal of how easy it was in that time period to continue to subjugate humans of different races and income levels. I really enjoyed my ARC from Amistad Publishers and BookishFirst.
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5 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2021
4 people found this helpful
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