Posts tagged ‘Slavery’

Truth has its own path – “A Shout in the Ruins” by Kevin Powers

There is some debate about Kevin Powers debut book “The Yellow Birds.” I thought it was well written, particularly for a first novel, and did a great job of putting the reader right where none of us want to be but need to be to understand our complex presence in Iraq. So I really liked that novel but in his second novel “A Shout in the Ruins” Powers has taken his writing to a new, beautifully rounded level.

36204340.jpg“A Shout in the Ruins” follows a complex story of a multi-generational family and its slaves from the beginning of the American Civil War through the 1970s.  It is set on a plantation outside of Richmond, Virginia and the story weaves backwards and forwards chapter to chapter between the war, the Antebellum period, Jim Crow, and on and on. I cannot sum it up in a clear way because there are a lot of characters and a lot to unpack for even a quick blurb. Needless to say, it is also a lot to take on for the author.  I must admit to being a little tired of this constant lack of linear writing in the novels that are being published right now – every other chapter is a flashback or flash forward or different character (anyone else tired of this tread). BUT all of that said, this book is brilliantly done.

The novel does not gloss over the harshness of slavery, the pain of war and ruin, or the subjugation of women in the 1800s.  It addresses pride, revenge, hopelessness and the desolation of all of those things.  The characters are in some ways one dimensional but this does not hinder the story telling or make the path the novel sets seem shallow or lacking.

Perhaps most stunning, is the author’s set of truths that seem to place themselves within the story.  The most important of which seems to be how our own truths are merely ours but that does not make them any less and, in fact, they frame our entire lives, set our course and perhaps the courses of those who come after us.

This book pairs well with a fire pit and a starry night so you can contemplate some seriously deep things because this isn’t your standard beach book.   Happy Summer Reading Friends!

June 14, 2018 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.


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