Leaving Tuscaloosaby Walter Bennett
Richeboux Branscomb’s journey begins with a stupid mistake
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Imagine Alabama, the sultry summer of 1962--the year before Bull Connor turned his fire hoses on civil rights protesters in Birmingham and the Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church. Two young men, one white, one black, stumble into their destinies as the world erupts beneath their feet.
Richeboux Branscomb’s journey begins with a stupid mistake one night in a rattle-trap Ford on a dusty road. Acee Waites’ begins with a missing brother and a ruthless sheriff’s search party. Propelled along separate tracks through thirty-six hours of racial turmoil, these estranged boyhood friends encounter tenderness and cruelty, erotic passion and murderous rage. Then amid the spreading fires of racial violence, their paths converge in a terrible, riveting climax.
This stunning debut novel from Southern-based writer Walter Bennett, "Leaving Tuscaloosa" (FUZE Publishing), weaves in elegant prose the life-threads of two men segregated by race but alike in their familiarity with aspiration blunted by loss. Publication of their balanced, deeply moral story will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham.
"Leaving Tuscaloosa" was a finalist for the 2010 Bellwether Prize, a nation-wide competition founded and administered by Barbara Kingsolver for unpublished novels treating issues of social change.
- Fuze Publishing, LLC
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Meet the Author
Walter Bennett is a former lawyer, judge, and law professor, who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He has published short fiction in both print and online journals, including Voices and The Courtland Review; essays (most recently--“Black Quill,” in Astream: American Writers on Fly Fishing, (Spring, 2012, Skyhorse Publishing); numerous articles on the law; and a highly acclaimed book: The Lawyer’s Myth: Reviving Ideals in the Legal Profession (U. Chicago Press, 2001). He served as co-producer of a literary documentary film: Landscapes of the Heart: The Elizabeth Spencer Story. He is a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
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LEAVING TUSCALOOSA is fascinating, well done, and impressive. The tale moves with the beat of a Civil War march wreaking havoc in Alabama in the Civil Rights age. Memorable characters play out their tragedy among the terrible tensions between black and white, stirred up with guns, youth, and the intractable divisions that remain our mid-20th century legacy.
It is the summer of 1962 and two young men’s lives are about to change forever. Richeboux Branscomb is a young, white male who should have stayed at the dance with his girlfriend. Instead he chooses to ride with his friends into Cherrytown. Acee Waites, is a young, black male who works hard and is just trying to find time to spend with his girlfriend. He is called home, when the cops show up searching for his brother, a civil rights activist who lives with a white, northern woman. This is the journey of these two men and the dividing barrier of one’s race. This book is a power house of emotions and actions. Walter Bennett will captivate readers with the struggles of Richeboux and Acee. Readers will feel as though they have been transported through time and space, thanks to the intricate details and accurate dialects. Told from various points-of-view, this story allow readers a chance to feel the inner turmoil of the main characters. Leaving Tuscaloosa is a superb representation of Southern Literature. This book should be on every adult’s must-read list. Graphic scenes, rough language and harsh content will not be appropriate for all ages. This book left me breathless and speechless. It is a gripping, action-packed book that provided an excellent representation of a southern community in the 1960s. Notes: A copy of this book was provided by the PR representative for me to review. This review was originally posted on Ariesgrl Book Reviews.