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Sweet Song Paperback – December 15, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

This could be a long story, so sometime I'll tell the whole thing. For now, let's say I wanted to explore race, education, and freedom. Let's say I wanted to explore how someone might feel if they were taken for the wrong race. Or perhaps someone who wasn't sure what race he was.

About the Author

Terry Persun is a Five-Time Award-Winning novelist, an Amazon bestseller, and a Pushcart nominee. 
   His short stories and poetry have been widely published, and his historical novel, "Sweet Song" won the 2012 IPPY Award. His novel "Wolf's Rite was a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalist. 
   Terry has been writing professionally for over thirty years, and continues to publish in small and university magazines across the country. 
   He writes in other genres including mainstream fiction, historical fiction, science fiction/fantasy, suspense, crime/detective, and poetry. 
   For videos, short stories, and other information go to: TerryPersun.com

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Booktrope Editions (December 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935961063
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935961062
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,648,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of SWEET SONG, a tale set just after the Civil War about a young mulatto man who runs away from the farm on which he was raised. Encountering a vagabond band of former slaves, he is mistaken as white due partly to his fair features and partly to his fair speech (he was taught proper grammar and to read by his white half-sister). This leads him on a journey, both internal and external, to make his way in the world and find his identity in a culture divided by deep racial lines.

The book gripped me from the first chapter. I started reading it on the bus ride to work and for the first time ever missed getting off at my bus stop, I was so engrossed. Persun's voice reads like a memoir of the time, so much so that I often forgot that I was reading fiction. Persun's knowledge of the setting (rural Pennsylvania) and the time period rang uncannily true and I was carried through the story with a deep compassion for the characters and the land through which they travelled. I read the concluding chapter a few days after I started, this time on the bus ride home, and would have missed my stop again had my wife not shaken me from my reading trance.

If you like historical fiction in general, and Civil War-era stories in particular, this book deserves a place in your library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book and didn't want it to end!! I love all of Persun's novels, and this book like his others draws you right in. I find that the story becomes 3-D in a way- I feel that I'm really there and it's all happening around me. Persun has a gift for storytelling in this way. You feel you are part of it. I loved that this book was hard to put down and I savored the moments I could pick it up again. What a great story!!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Please note: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

'Sweet Song' is an engrossing read. Terry Persun has a unique way of weaving the world that makes more than just a pretty turn of a phrase. This story is about Leon, a mulatto boy trying to learn who he is in post-Civil War America. This is more than a coming off age or boy becomes a man story. This is the story of a boy who becomes a man and must figure out where he belongs in a world that is dead set to not accept him because of his parentage. Leon not only becomes a man, but he becomes a different man before he discovers that he can honour where he came from without reliving it and he can honour the man he has become without completely forgetting his past.
Terry Persun pulls you into the story and you feel horrified that this little boy is having such an awful life and that he can only tell you what is happening in the most veiled of ways. As he grows older and more mature, he is able to start confronting his past, but continues to run from it.
This novel is full of life lessons. Overcoming obstacles, refusing to repeat the past, moving past your childhood, and learning how to become your own person in spite of all of these barriers. It also has the very strong message that until you can confront your own evils and face them without regret or sorrow, then you cannot face your future.
This book is a great period piece that draws you in and keeps you wanting to know what Leon is going to do next. His story seems impossible and you wonder how Leon will ever move on, but he manages to do just that! Read this novel, it is well worth the read and it has a very interesting take on the aftermath of the Civil War. We often hear about how the slaves were freed, but few tell you how difficult a road it was indeed for these people. This tells the story from the losers side of the fence, if you will. You will not be disappointed by the story at all!
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Format: Paperback
I received a free Kindle edition of this book in exchange for my review.

`Sweet Song' was not an enjoyable read for me. The story was too sexualized, and there were a lot of details that didn't need to be written. I agree with another review, this author seems to have a breast fetish.
The story was hard to follow at times, and I got bogged down in a lot of details. I would often have to go back a few pages to re-read something and make sense of it. The premise of the book, of a bi-racial man moving through life as a white man in the post Civil War times, is a promising premise. But the sex and gory violence retellings were a bit much for me.
I was also distracted by too many grammatical errors. Several times periods and question marks were switched around. The author also mixed up and used the incorrect form of several homophones: hear/here, bear/bare, its/it's, and your/you're. An editor should have caught those. They happened more frequently as the book neared the end.
This is not a book I can personally recommend, and I plan on deleting it off of my Kindle.
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Format: Paperback
Your identity defines who you are, and often a person has several identities for different areas of their life. Identities can change and evolve over time, but racial identity is usually pre-defined by rules beyond an individual's control. Every now and then, an individual can slip through the cracks and choose their racial identity. Sweet Song by Terry Persun tells the story of fair-skinned Leon, born of a white landowner and a black house servant in post Civil War America, and his struggles for his identity. According to the custom of the time, Leon is identified as black, and he is raised by his black mother and her black husband. Because Leon does not have interaction with others outside of his plantation, he is perplexed by the ridicule that he receives from both the blacks and whites in his limited world, and why he is called "Mixed-up." Unexpectedly and unprepared, Leon is thrust into the universe, where his skin color determines his place in the world. Now, Leon is bewildered on how to proceed in his new skin.

At times, I was as bewildered as Leon on where the author was going with this story. In the beginning the storyline is slow, confusing and disturbing. Without mention of a specific location, historical events, an explanation of why this "farm" and its inhabitants did not have contact with others outside of the farm, and with the dialogue sounding too contemporary, the first chapters just did not come together for me and provide an authentic feel. I was also bothered by several of the disturbing sexual references/events; Martha bathing naked in front of Leon telling him "stories" while he is staring at her naked breasts. His mother's sexual molestation of him with others in the cabin, and his half-sister insisting on having sex with him was bizarre.
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