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30 April 2010

Book Review: Glorious by Bernice L. McFadden

Title: Glorious
Author: Bernice L. McFadden
Publisher: Akashic Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
Hardcover: 240 pages
ISBN: 978-1936070114
Genre: Historical Fiction

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From the Publisher:

Glorious is set against the backdrops of the Jim Crow South, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Civil Rights era. Blending fact and fiction, Glorious is the story of Easter Venetta Bartlett, a fictional Harlem Renaissance writer whose tumultuous path to success, ruin, and ultimately revival offers a candid and true portrait of the American experience in all its beauty and cruelty.

It is a novel informed by the question that is the title of Langston Hughes's famous poem: What happens to a dream deferred? Based on years of research, this heart-wrenching fictional account is given added resonance by factual events coupled with real and imagined larger-than-life characters. Glorious is an audacious exploration into the nature of self-hatred, love, possession, ego, betrayal, and, finally, redemption.

My Review:

Spanning the years from 1910 to 1961, Bernice L. McFadden takes the reader back to a time many want to forget, yet should not be forgotten in her novel Glorious. The reader is introduced to Easter Bartlett a young woman born in Waycross, Georgia, who takes the reader through the atrocities of rape, lynching, and murder to a traveling Vaudeville act, Slocum's Traveling Brigade, to the birth of the Harlem Renaissance. Glorious is a beautifully crafted narrative of historical moments, heart-breaking facts, joys and betrayals as told through the eyes of Easter Bartlett a loving, kind woman who happened to also be a voracious reader and writer in a time when those who where not white were typically not literate. Glorious is a novel that takes the reader through five decades and numerous states filled with beautiful prose, dialect, and description, the characters spring to life off the pages and one cannot help but to share in the sorrowful moments as well as the joyful ones. Bernice L. McFadden, through her graceful and resilient character, Easter Bartlett, brings history to life and makes the reader feel as though they are there beside Easter. Glorious is a novel that should be read, pondered, read again and discussed, and a novel I wholeheartedly recommend to all readers.

About the Author:

Bernice L. McFadden is the author of six critically acclaimed novels including the classic Sugar and Nowhere Is a Place, which was a Washington Post Best Fiction title for 2006. She is a two time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist for fiction, as well as the recipient of two fiction honor awards from the BCALA. Her sophomore novel, The Warmest December, was praised by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison as "searing and expertly imagined." McFadden lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she is working on her next novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Glorious by Bernice L. McFadden from Bernice L. McFadden to read and offer my honest review of the novel. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.



Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Thank you for this good review. It is on my TBR list; this probably moved it up a notch or two!

Bill ;-)

Hope you'll check out my book giveaway:

Tea said...

Wonderful, wonderful review, I can't wait to read Glorious.

Wendy said...

I just read and reviewed this yesterday and I completely agree! It was a fascinating book and I loved Easter's character!

Alison's Book Marks said...

Great review! I had not heard of this novel before now, and I am promptly putting it on my TBR list.