Oxherding Tale

Overview

One night in the antebellum South, a slaveowner and his African-American butler stay up to all hours drinking Madeira and playing cards. Finally, too besotted to face their respective wives, they drunkenly decide to switch places in each other's beds. The result is a hilarious imbroglio and an offspring, Andrew Hawkins, whose life becomes the Oxherding Tale, a deliciously funny, bitterly ironic account of slavery, racism, oppression - and the African-American spirit - in the Old South. Through sexual escapades, ...
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Oxherding Tale: A Novel

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Overview

One night in the antebellum South, a slaveowner and his African-American butler stay up to all hours drinking Madeira and playing cards. Finally, too besotted to face their respective wives, they drunkenly decide to switch places in each other's beds. The result is a hilarious imbroglio and an offspring, Andrew Hawkins, whose life becomes the Oxherding Tale, a deliciously funny, bitterly ironic account of slavery, racism, oppression - and the African-American spirit - in the Old South. Through sexual escapades, picaresque adventures, and philosophical inquiry, young Hawkins walks the line between white and black worlds and comments wryly on marriage, human nature, slave catchers, and culture along the way.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A work of courage and compassion, virtuosity and intelligence."
The Village Voice

"I laughed. I cried. I thought. I marveled. Oxherding Tale is a beautiful book. Its language is extraordinary, its writing is crisp, clean, smooth, even in its complexity, and terribly affecting. It is masterful craft of the highest order."
— August Wilson

"A wonderfully funny, erotic, bittersweet story....Johnson presents a fable about racial difference and...[he] doesn't make light of the load, but makes the burden of its telling sweeter with Dickensian twists of plot and with outrageous characters.
Chicago Sun-Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452275034
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/1995
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,251,902
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Johnson, a 1998 MacArthur fellow, is the S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollock Endowed Professor of English at the University of Washington in Seattle. His fiction includes Dr. King's Refrigerator, Dreamer, and Middle Passage, for which he won the National Book Award. In 2002 he received the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Seattle.

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