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Wandlike wizened whispering to herself unearthly arthritic yet not crabbed but rather with A Ceremoniously Pious Gospel ceremoniously pious ospel her long brown left hand hovering over the knob of gospel ait her long brown left hand hovering over the knob of celebrated cane which the Jewish Mayor of Israel had iven to the Irish Mayor of the City stabbing stemming striking refuse and debris like a Tokyo Encounter garden keeper moving through the rubble and babble down the locked up abandoned ravished sin sacked and mildewed city turning the cane about as if it were a symbolic key to the cityiven a visitor a holy witness from another country come to save even you and especially you That is the kind of sentence from p15 of the novel that is liable to Wirtschaftsgesetze, 35. Auflage: IDW Textausgabe give me a heart attack of pure ecstatic aesthetic delight Soundtrack Sometimes I feel like a motherless child Dolphy came to mind often Billie of course there a word for sorrowful anger To describe his prose line as Jazz is a cliche though especially when one thinks of players like Dolphy or later Coltrane entirely accurate This is a novel of brokenness and loss of children orphaned by the legacies of slavery rape and fear It is a novel of Mothers and ofod fathers burying a curse in the blood of Fathers already too Scribbleboy ghostly too spirit ed to be killed It is voices crying in the wilderness of modern America monologues riffing over around and within one another It is a novel of the Church and of the uniue developments in Christianity that took place in the African American community through the 19th and 20th centuries It is Carnivalesue and full of transformations in dream and memory and experience It is irrational and surreal as the world is irrational and surreal It can be read in part and without meaning a disservice to its uniueness nor its specific cultural point of origin as a response to Absalom Absalom not least due to the prominence of issues of race incest and parentage and other painful legacies of the South It also has a plot that deliberately exploits the tropes of melodrama It is I think successful than Faulkner in capturing the multiplicity of the Black oral tradition While Forrest s voice is almost always biblical or semi biblical there is an authenticity to it which Faulkner lacks when he steps out from the mouth and mind of the White Southerner except perhaps the sermon of Rev Shegog in The Sound and the Fury though one suspects this is just indicative ofood listening and transcribing skills Nathaniel Witherspoon remains central though we have left the completely enveloping interiority of Eden and his observations are now of those around him rather than within him though such a distinction is untrue now a motherless child himself he is drawn to the lives of those similarly orphaned It is the pain and nightmares of his community which obsess him rather than those of his own psyche All those torn from father and mother Africa are orphans The posited solution is to be found in Jazz in the absorbing and mutating own making nature of Jazz which is unbounded by race or class by history or parentage it can incorporate the kitsch and the profound and allow the European and African to co exist Most importantly it is always moving forward is never chained by its past no matter how painful It speaks the pain outward and forward into the world and the future transformed by Art and Soul Now from a tower burial lookout site on the outskirts to the city Ironwood became the high priest of the tribe extemporizing upon his royal ElfQuest golden flute with a faint jangle of the whispering tambourine a psalm of memory to Lady Day Celebrating in tongues her time freezing prison love muted hypodermic jellied sight binding knocking bones lean horned aching vision in the frigid dehydrated valley of bleached dry bones of love Ironwood s rage muted violin sounding flute and behind that talking dancing spirit meat shaking off their bones as Big Maybelle like the huge hearted felt flesh life like Bessie inside the body and blood of Lady s delicate violin song of sorrowsSinging them all back to the foundling child in the path road tiny enough to fit into a mail boxSometimes I feel like I m almostone But again when one has prose like this what does one need anyway La Donna s head dropped in shame Katie Mae s droning voice sounded almost like the Mother Superior s voice stumbling out of the harness of dreaming decades and simultaneously echoing that old negro folk other knowing coattail pulling advice that she had been trained or admonished or had trained herself to eternally despise the undermining advice of a brigade of underground wretches it was barbaric mud and it was Southern therefore low down that was that saying one thing and meaning another She looked at the woman s crow feet the cracked vertebra looking fingers the work soured yet unvanuished life harpooning dark brown eyes the large defiance sardonic lips full of mock and pluck the humbled and humped shoulders the huge staunch challenging African nose the varicose veins dividing up her once shapely legs as the bruised blood upon the links in a leg chain of a breakaway as the woman dug her r. Leon Forrest acclaimed author of Divine Days uses a remarkable verbal intensity to evoke human tragedy injustice and spirituality in his writing As Toni Morrison has said All of ,
Omedy his uniuely complex understanding of certain aspects of Black American culture ive his writing a depth that becomes increasingly clear with reading John of Black American culture Tote Sprache: Cartoons auf Latein give his writing a depth that becomes increasingly clear with reading John Cawelti from the introduction Don t sleep on Cawelti s introduction y all as of this moment it s the most well organized cogent response to Forrest and his prose that I ve came across Of course I veot a book on Forrest coming in the mail so hopefully that will changeThen don t sleep on this book Of course it oes without saying that by that point you ve already not slept on his first book There is a Tree More Ancient than Eden or most importantly that you ve not slept on Leon Forrest Because he s the honest to deity real dealEnough of thatThis book is in many ways a continuation of There is
A Tree That Goes WithoutTree that oes without a bit since this is the second volume in the Forrest County Trilogy of which that was the first so it continues with the storylines of the Witherspoons and the Breedloves most specifically that of Nathaniel Witherspoon But it also continues many of the same themes mythology martyrdom the fall the seeking of redemption apocalyptic Christianity the Oedipus myth and while it was likely a part of the first book this volume also majorly focuses on unsurprisingly based on the title of the book the theme of orphanhood This is not only explicitly a theme many of the characters of the book are either orphans or become orphans through the course of the book but it s also an implicit The Professional Victims Handbook genealogical theme where these descendents of slaves are orphaned from the fathermother country of Africa And the unmoored disconnect and seeking on the part of the characters flows from both facets throughout the narrativeThe main strength of the book outside of Forrest s prose which is by far the biggest strength is the continued mixture of myth religious doctrine and the language and cadence of deep south fire and brimstone preaching the language of the book freuently pulls these motifs into the day to day narratives of its characters Nathaniel believed that Regal s presence provided them with a lost found rain ticket back into the coaches of temptation where everybody still operated He speculated that Regal s absence and sudden appearance allowed them to recanonize his mythhood for a constant presence of the living flesh would have surely reduced the saint That climactic moment of arising from the living presence of hell was like an ascent into heaven and connected him even with the Christ and salvation than a thousand Christ martyred figures When Nathaniel told him this about the sisters Regal merely scoff ed saying You re always making the sisters into nuns I didn t know you were working for the Pope with such precision But overall and most importantly Forrest s proses continues to shine it is erudite complex and mellifluous he has an knack for alliteration assonance and intonation thatives his prose a musical uality but it s musically moored in jazz rhythms and blues pathos it is wild and frantic while yet lost and seeking And Nathaniel thought Well now Brer Fox Black Ball Sounds like you were a chitterling chained upon Mount Caucasus Caught up in the oldest of rinds that old nasty fifth flanking column why perhaps that tart Pharisee was really a fellow traveler In the lair of the lily harpy ass in lion s skin Or was it a taped parody on a drunken Bacchus or metamorphosis in which the God went up in the mountain and deep into a cave cleaned up one of their number sired a passable Redeemer by her and yet their God was born out of such vainglorious loins but they were pledged never to touch that white whale meat but what about Saltport s abandoned one by the half mad Diedre upon what city rung in hell was he abandoned Or was it all just a replay of Beauty and the Beast in which they had accepted certain Aryan imperatives and taboos and then of course there was the danger of flying too close to the sun Ah but Aunt Hattie Breedlove used to say The Devil s busy Race is depressing being a people is not Coates said I want what made me become a race to o away but I love being a people uote from article Chicago is the Capital of Black America WTTW ChicagoTBO like its predecessor trilogy There Is a Tree More Ancient Than Eden is a verbal hurricane that swamps a reader s ability to float meaning regardless of race yet it s the black experience through and through it bleeds mythtruth and redemption on every page I am curious what Ta Nehisi Coates who must surely have read this in review would say can a book so abstruse and jazzily dense secure meaning the way his own books seem to resonate across racial lines Fire and brimstone pulpit verbosity that bone uaking rhythm unto the soul leaps any brain s categorical pace to keep order You see the light like Jake Blues and In the Blink of an Eye gots to shimmy sham shake This is another book that begs for reading ALOUD maybe inroup to let the sonorous thunder roll across those synapses whilst burning the tongue in blasphemy whose not worthy to tread these lines Everybody wants to Las alas de la mariposa go to heaven but nobody wants to die. Life has no astute observer than Leon Forrest All of that is on display here in a novel thative readers a breathtaking view of the human experience filled with humor and pathos.