A contemporary American masterpiece about music, race, an unforgettable man, and an unreal America during the Civil War era
At the heart of this remarkable novel is Thomas Greene Wiggins, a nineteenth-century slave and improbable musical genius who performed under the name Blind Tom.
Song of the Shank opens in 1866 as Tom and his guardian, Eliza Bethune, struggle to adjust to their fashionable apartment in the city in the aftermath of riots that had driven them away a few years before. But soon a stranger arrives from the mysterious island of Edgemere—inhabited solely by African settlers and black refugees from the war and riots—who intends to reunite Tom with his now-liberated mother.
As the novel ranges from Tom’s boyhood to the heights of his performing career, the inscrutable savant is buffeted by opportunistic teachers and crooked managers, crackpot healers and militant prophets. In his symphonic novel, Jeffery Renard Allen blends history and fantastical invention to bring to life a radical cipher, a man who profoundly changes all who encounter him.
Bridges is the story of a young American woman, Jessie, who joins the Peace Corps in Africa to start over and find herself. She finds everything but herself, particularly something dark that is chasing her. Trying to get away, Jessie flees to a man in France whom she thinks is her love. There, she is drawn into a mysterious relationship and a slow spiritual awakening that teaches her how to listen to her heart against all odds. "Five Stars" rating by ForeWord Clarion Reviews, calling it outstanding, sophisticated, and mesmerizing...a spiritual intrigue similar to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, with the sentimentality of Nicholas Sparks and the realism expected of a hardcore journalist.
There were plans for an official welcome. It was to take place the following Sunday. But those who came to the rectory on Father Pennant's second day were the ones who could not resist seeing him sooner. Here was the man to whom they would confess the darkest things. It was important to feel him out. Mrs Young, for instance, after she had seen him eat a piece of her macaroni pie, quietly asked what he thought of adultery.
André Alexis brings a modern sensibility and a new liveliness to an age-old genre, the pastoral.
For his very first parish, Father Christopher Pennant is sent to the sleepy town of Barrow. With more sheep than people, it's very bucolic—too much Barrow Brew on Barrow Day is the rowdiest it gets. Bu things aren't so idyllic for Liz Denny, whose fiancé doesn't want to decide between Liz and his more worldly mistress Jane, and for Father Pennant himself, who greets some miracles of nature—mayors walking on water, talking sheep—with a profound crisis of faith.