Monday, October 10, 2016

Red River

Fiction by Lalita Tademy.

Red River

This was a fascinating novel based on the history of the author's own family. I love this idea; the book On Gold Mountain by Lisa See is also a fictionalized retelling of  the author's ancestral past, which was amazing to read. I'd love to do this with my own family, although "The History of The Boring White Folks" is not really a gripping title.

Anyways, this book explores a past that many white southerners, like myself, would prefer to ignore. We'd like to pretend it wasn't all that much time between the emancipation of the slaves and the granting of their basic rights. In fact, however, we are looking at like a hundred years in there. The Civil War ended in 1865; the Civil Right Acts was passed in 1964. I can't believe I never thought about that span of time before. It's astonishing.

The author's ancestors were real people who tried to rise up out of slavery, with the supposed full backing of the US government behind them, but promises were broken and lives were lost. Still, the book doesn't descend into bitterness over this; the author's point is how they rose up in spite of all that.

Although it's not exactly easy, this book is definitely worth reading.

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