Losing Absalom

Losing Absalom

by Alexs D. Pate
     
 

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Sonny Goodman may have hopped the 'modern underground railroad called education' and arrived in far-flung Minneapolis, but with the impending death of his father, North Philadelphia is calling him home. As the Goodmans' separate lives collide in an outpouring of shared history, hope, grief, and deferred dreams, Sonny must find a way to untangle the web inner-city life… See more details below

Overview

Sonny Goodman may have hopped the 'modern underground railroad called education' and arrived in far-flung Minneapolis, but with the impending death of his father, North Philadelphia is calling him home. As the Goodmans' separate lives collide in an outpouring of shared history, hope, grief, and deferred dreams, Sonny must find a way to untangle the web inner-city life has woven around the ones he loves.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
One final battle crowns a lifetime of struggle for the hard-working, African American family man at the center of this moving first novel. In honest and lyrical prose, Pate explores the American dream, the inner city, the hope and sorrow of parenthood and the fragility of life. As Absalom Goodman lies dying in a Philadelphia hospital with his wife Gwen and two grown children gathered around him, his mind retraces the journey of his life and surveys the results of his ceaseless labors. Gwen and both children reflect on their roles within this family and the fundamental strength of Absalom, which guided them. Sonny, now part of predominantly white corporate America, returns home to confront a life he thought he had left behind. Rainy, an aspiring singer who lives in the family homestead with her boyfriend, lives in a different kind of denial. Gwen and Absalom hope to hold on, both for themselves and for these children who still so obviously need them. Pate's restrained writing steers clear of the maudlin while gracefully illuminating both the contemporary and timeless aspects to his tale. Amid the realities of decay and dying can be glimpsed a brief, fragile vision of strength and hope. (Apr.)
Library Journal
This heavy, overwritten first novel concerns a black man who returns to his North Philadelphia home when he learns that his father, Absalom, is dying of brain cancer. Sonny has been working and living in the corporate world of Minneapolis and, for no apparent reason, was unaware that his father was at death's door. His 36-year-old sister, Rainy, who yearns to be a singer but refuses to take lessons, is living in the old family home in its now deteriorating neighborhood. Her boyfriend, Dancer, a would-be photographer, is dealing drugs out of the house. As Absalom lies dying, he is privy to and comments upon the thoughts and actions of his children-- always in italics. Pate takes forever just to move a character from one room to another and wildly overreaches for descriptive depth: his ``paper bag brown face''; the ``enamel sparks from his grinding teeth''; ``Her thoughts had congealed into a muddy clump.'' One woman has ``long black hair and excavating eyes.'' The minimal plot and the foreshadowed tragedy are drowned in the dripping bathos. Not recommended.-- Ron Antonucci, Hudson Lib. & Historical Soc . , Ohio

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425150139
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
08/01/1995
Pages:
305
Product dimensions:
4.16(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.89(d)

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