The Wind Done Gone

The Wind Done Gone

2.9 26
by Alice Randall

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In a brilliant rejoinder and an inspired act of literary invention, Alice Randall explodes the world created in Margaret Mitchell’s famous 1936 novel, the work that more than any other has defined our image of the antebellum South. Imagine simply that the black characters peopling that world were completely different, not egregious, one-dimensional

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In a brilliant rejoinder and an inspired act of literary invention, Alice Randall explodes the world created in Margaret Mitchell’s famous 1936 novel, the work that more than any other has defined our image of the antebellum South. Imagine simply that the black characters peopling that world were completely different, not egregious, one-dimensional stereotypes but fully alive, complex human beings. And then imagine, quite plausibly, that at the center of this world moves an illegitimate mulatto woman, and that this woman, Cynara, Cinnamon, or Cindy—beautiful and brown—gets to tell her story.
Cindy is born into a world in which she is unacknowledged by her plantation-owning father and passed over by her mother in favor of her white charges. Sold off like so much used furniture, she eventually makes her way back to Atlanta to take up with a prominent white businessman, only to leave him for an aspiring politician of her own color. Moving from the Deep South to the exhilarating freedom of Reconstruction Washington, with its thriving black citizenry of statesmen, professionals, and strivers of every persuasion, Cindy experiences firsthand the promise of the new era at its dizzying peak, just before it begins to slip away.
Alluding to events in Mitchell’s novel but ingeniously and ironically transforming them, THE WIND DONE GONE is an exquisitely written, emotionally complex story of a strong, resourceful black woman breaking away from the damaging world of the Old South to emerge into her own, a person capable of not only receiving but giving love, as daughter, lover, and mother. A passionate love story, a wrenching portrait of a tangled mother-daughter relationship, and a book that gives a voice to those history has silenced, THE WIND DONE GONE is an elegant literary achievement of significant political force and a novel whose time has finally come.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Think of Margaret Mitchell's epic Gone with the Wind condensed and told from the perspectives of Mammy and the Tara slaves, and you have Randall's debut novel. This sometimes cryptic but always fascinating story is narrated by Cynara (also Cinnamon or Cindi), the daughter of a slave and a white plantation owner. As the story unfolds, we learn of Cynara's hatred of the white half-sister she calls Other and the privileges bestowed upon Other yet denied Cynara even though they are raised side by side. Both sisters vie for the attentions of Mammy (Cynara's mother and Other's nanny) as children, and for the love of the same man as adults. Through the eyes of Cynara and the other now freed slaves, we get unique perspectives of life on a Southern plantation and of the Reconstruction era. Randall, an established country songwriter, uses language and idiom to haunting and poetic effect. Fans of Toni Morrison's Beloved will enjoy this well-written historical fiction. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/01; a trust for Margaret Mitchell's heirs has filed an injunction to stop this book's publication as a violation of copyright. Ed.] Karen Traynor, Sullivan Free Lib., Chittenango, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Songwriter Randall's audacious, highly controversial (the Margaret Mitchell estate is not amused) debut retells Gone With the Wind from the point of view of Scarlett O'Hara's mulatto half-sister. Like many a slave child, Cynara was born out of wedlock, fathered by "Planter," the white man who owned her mother. She grew up in relatively protected circumstances, able to read and write (unlike her Mammy), her life holding an off-center mirror to the experiences of her famously headstrong white half-sister, here known only as "Other." Cynara's sly sketches of Dreamy Gentleman (Ashley Wilkes), Miss Mealy Mouth (the irritatingly saintlike Melanie), and a host of other supporting characters from the original enliven this pseudo-memoir. Cynara and R. (Rhett Butler) become lovers—what Other doesn't know won't hurt her, Cynara reasons. R. turns to her in secret when his beloved little daughter dies, but he refuses to give her the child of her own she yearns for. Openly his mistress after Emancipation, Cynara travels to Europe and throughout the South, meeting Frederick Douglass, colored congressmen, and other dignitaries of the new black elite, although she discovers that the mulatto mistresses of Confederate aristocracy have little standing in Negro society. The real story here, however, is the parallel lives of the sisters, whose fates are forever entwined. Cynara offers a shrewd assessment of her white Other, who "has the vitality, vigor, and the pragmatism of a slave, and into this water you stir as much refinement as you can without leaving any grains of sugar at the bottom of the glass. She was a slave in a white woman's body, and that's a sweet drink of cold water." But Cynara, aremarkable woman in her own right, outshines her on every page. Randall's vivid prose skillfully captures the color of a mind, which is something much subtler than skin shades of brown or black or white. Sure to outrage a few diehard traditionalists—and entertain everyone else.

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
. Series
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.56(d)

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Today is the anniversary of my birth. I have twenty-eight years. This diary and the pen I am writing with are the best gifts I got—except maybe my cake. R. gave me the diary, the pen, and the white frosted tiers. He also gave me emerald earbobs. I think maybe my emeralds are just green glass; I hope maybe they be genuine peridots.
I was born May 25, 1845, at half-past seven in the morning into slavery on a cotton farm a day’s ride from Atlanta. My father, Planter, was the master of the place; my mother was the Mammy. My half-sister, Other, was the belle of five counties. She was not beautiful, but men seldom recognized this, caught up in the cloud of commotion and scent in which she moved. R. certainly didn’t; he married her. But then again, he just left her. Maybe that means something to me. Maybe he’s just the unseldom one who do recognize.


If I strip the flesh off my bones, like they stripped the clothes off my flesh in the slave market down near the battery in Charleston, this would be my skeleton: childhood on a cotton farm; a time of shawl-fetch slavery away in Charleston; a bare-breasted hour on an auction block; drudge slavery as a maid in Beauty’s Atlanta brothel, when Milledgeville was the capital of Georgia and Atlanta was nothing; a season of candle-flame concubinage in the attic of that house; a watery Grand Tour of Europe; and, finally, concubinage in my own white clapboard home, with green shutters and gaslights, in the center (near the train depot) of a fast-growing city that has become the capital of Georgia, concubinage that persists till now. How many miles have I traveled to come back to here?


They called me Cinnamon because I was skinny as a stick and brown. But my name is Cynara. Now when I tell it, I say they called me Cinnamon because I was sweet and spicy. Sweet, hot, strong, and black—like a good cup of coffee. Leastways, that’s how Planter liked his coffee.
Planter used to say I was his cinnamon and Mammy was his coffee.
He said those words a day I had gotten into trouble dashing before Other upon the stained-glass colored light that fell in rows of blue and pink diamonds down the wide hall of the big house. If I was ten years old, it must have been 1855. I bumped into the leg of the Hewitt sideboard. Other was ten years old too. It was one of those days we had back when everything seemed it would always be just as it has always been. Everything and everyone had a place and rested deep in it, or so it seemed that day to would-be knights and ten-year- olds. Then I bumped into that carved leg, and the shell-shaped bonbon dish jumped off Lady’s sideboard as if it just wanted to split into a hundred porcelain shards on the lemon-oiled pine floor. Something had changed, and I had changed it. Someone wanted to beat me. Mammy said she’d beat me good, with a belt. Other lied and said she’d knocked into the table. Said it ’cause she knew it would pain Mammy to give me a whipping.
And sometimes Planter said it when he heard me making up little rhymes to sing to myself. Sometimes when Mammy was putting Other to sleep on a day pallet for a nap, he would call for me to sit at his feet on the broad porch and sing my little songs to him. “Cindy, come sing, come sing! Ain’t you my Cinnamon and she my coffee?” he’d ask. And I’d be slow to go, because I knew someone might be missing me.
On the day Planter told me I was leaving the place, I asked him what he had meant when he said that I was his cinnamon and she was his coffee. He said to me, “I mean a man can do without his cinnamon but he can’t do without his coffee.” I poked my lip out. “I mean you’re a gracious plenty.” “I belong here?” “Gracious plenty foreign to me child.” R. says Planter was an Irishman and all Irish are shiftless, lazy crackers, no matter how rich they get. He always wants me to look outside the neighborhood for models of my deportment. He often mentions that Georgia was once a penal colony. The first time he said it, I didn’t know what a “penal colony” was. He says only the English and the French know anything about gracious plenty. He says when Planter and Mammy got together, they cooked a broth too rich for potato-water blood.
It was Planter who sent me away, but he got the go-ahead from Mama. It was the year his third son died, and he said it would be a good turn for me. I was thirteen the day they rode me off. It was 1858.
Mammy was my Mama. Even though she let me go, I miss her. I miss her every time I look into a mirror and see her eyes. Sometimes I comb through my long springy curls and pretend that the hand holding the comb is hers. But I don’t know what that looks like. TThen I wish I was Other, the girl whose sausage curls I’ve seen Mammy comb and comb. I wish for the tight kinks of the comber or the glossy sausages of the combed. I wwwwwish not to be out of the picture.
Mammy always called me Chile. She never called me soft or to her softness. She called me to do things, usually for Other, who she called Lamb. It was “Get dressed, Chile!” and “What’s mah Lamb gwanna wear?”

Copyright © 2001 by Alice Randall Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

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The Wind Done Gone 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you pick up this book and decide to read it, please leave your prejudices at the door. It is not as bad as those who hate it say, and it is not as good as those who love it say, but it is fun to read if you love southern lit, like I do. Go ahead and read it. I promise that if you do, you can go on to live a normal life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Wind Done Gone was not bad for a first book published. The story was a grabme and quite interesting. My final comment TWDG was a plot, a beginning, middle and conclusion -- I would reccommend to a mature friend. Finally, rearder's if you have nothing good to say don't say anything.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally we have the last of the missing pieces to the puzzle. Ms. Randall has offered us a not only a new/different perspective, she has also offered us a sense of value and worth for the ones who have paved the way. Maybe some of the verbage has been altered to bring about a more updated appeal than the literature of 'GWTW'. But I found the book very well written and has led my imagination to places I never thought possible. I belive that if readers are less critical and more open- minded you may find this a very interesting read. Also, the fact of knowing that there is another side of this and every story, the truth lies within. I implore you to read this book and allow yourself the pleasures of both sides.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was greatly excited by Alice Randall's Work of Art. Alice Randall shows great intellect in writing this book and in thereby showing the portrayal of how a majority of African Americans feel in this country regarding Margaret Mitchell's book. As an African American Woman growing up in Atlanta Georgia being forced to read Margaret Mitchell's book in the georgia school system, and residing in Jonesboro (tara), I obviously had lots of emotional baggage attached with 'gone with the wind' and it's impact on the way it portrayed Black African Americans. I definately did not agree with Margaret Mitchell's book because it was one-sided and did not tell the underlying truth by insulting ALL Black African Americans with her damaging feelings about Black People. I thank Alice Randall for giving my Ancestors a Voice to Speak, and for allowing their Souls to Cry Out from beyond the grave. I believe that Alice Randall exhibits true literary thinking by giving America a taste of how we(African Americans)feel about what our people endured being portrayed in a negative light instead of how they really were, which is an Extremely Strong Black People who had emotions, thoughts,feelings, desires, goals,and most of all Human Souls.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is in no way a parody, but I guess they had to stick that on the cover in order to get it published. I gobbled the book up, but it is true that to understand it, you need more than a little knowledge of the original. I thought it was wonderful and true and I think Margaret Mitchell would not have had so much of a problem with it as her estate did. Frankly, I think all the publicity did the book and the author a favor. I guess with all of the hype around the publication, I expected it to be a little more evocative, but I was only a little disappointed. I really enjoyed the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As I read The Wind Done Gone, I find myself thinking ..'I didn't know that, well doesn't that explain a lot.' A throuough knowledge of the original is necessary to fully catch all the references. This book is fascinating. If I were the author of the authorized sequel, Scarlett, I would retire immediately, realizing I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I cannot help but think, had Margaret Mitchell lived into today's society, she would be equally as enthralled with her characters as I. Can't wait for the movie - Thandy Newton or Halle Berry take note. The role is yours.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had seen this book referred to as 'a parody' of Gone With the Wind, which is is not. It is a deeply affecting story written from a different perspective - that of a mulatto slave woman, who gives us a new slant on some familiar characters. I was deeply moved. I can understand why Mitchell's literary executors were annoyed; this is a much more satisfying sequel than the one they approved.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I heard about The Wind Done Gone, all I could think about was how much I wanted to read it. I hunted every bookstore down until I found the beautiful cover with the mulatto woman in a green dress. I was positive this was going to be a funny story, a sort of African-American behind-the-scenes of Gone With the Wind. A historical story that gave a voice to the slaves. Sad to say, Ms. Randall wrote a little differently than I had oricinally anticipated. She wrote with the hateful voice of a wronged slave-turned-prostitute. I applaud Ms. Randall's efforts to distort a classic American novel, ruin well-loved characters, and write a book focused on bringing down the work of another author. She greatly succeeded on all points.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Naturally, being African American, I was not only interested in reading a novel that was received so many accolades by so many affluent celebraties, but was equally interested to find out what made this book so controversial. The hype is what sells this book. Sadly, I have to say I found the reading boring. It rode off the back of Gone with The Wind with no real substance. I think the author has a poetic talent and the potential of delivering better literature. This one should not have been her first - it needed more - something...
Guest More than 1 year ago
i read this book and loved it.It really sheaded a more true light on Gone with the Wind. Other reveiwers speak as if everyone was truley as gitty as house wives. How do they think the work was accomplished at Tara and through the south on the blood sweat and tears of Blacks. Mammy worked and and sweated just so Scarlett could parade in front of Ashley and bat her eyes. Honestly we have to look at things from other points of view. Don't get me wrong i loved Gone With the Wind but it Protrayed slaves as this gitty lacky animals that were created for the service of whites.All i have to say is God created everyone equal and through Islam and God i've learned that. I enjoyed this book and it's Gothic Neo-slavery image lured me to read on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Randall's novel, although capriciously a parody of Margaret Mitchell's GONE WITH THE WIND, seems to be no more than a thrust of hot steam into the face of anyone who has grown up loving and adoring the characters in the original novel. Although I understand Randall's bitterness and her 'love-hate' relationship with Mitchell's novel, it's hard to imagine the southern conscience not being pricked by reading some of the things that are written in this book. In a way, the novel borders on blasphemy because it rips apart everything that we, as southern Americans, believe to be true about the old South and its ways of thinking. The stream of consciousness technique, although useful by such authors as Joyce or Faulkner, seems to be wasted here as Randall spins the obscure tale of Cindy and Other. It seems a pity that the only thing this book has going for it is hype. Maybe Randall can do a better job next time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all, the title of this book doesn't even make any sense. 'The Wind Done Gone' is not a slang way of saying 'Gone With the Wind.' It says something completely different. I gave the book a chance anyway and read it. Terrible! The author has a feeble grasp on coherence and the ability to hold a reader's attention.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was . . . okay. Just okay. Not great, by any means, and definitely not the masterpiece I was led to expect. Yes, it can be viewed as the 'missing link' between actual society of the 1860's and the world of GWTW, but for anyone who has read, re-read, and loved GWTW, Randall's WDG is just plain wrong. I'm a hopeless GWTW romantic, and to have Rhett and Scarlett not end up together is a like sacrilege. So don't bother reading it. It's basically a waste of time, unless you want to get your heart broken.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I eagerly waited for this book to make its way to the bookstores. I bought it the day it arrived. I began to read it as soon as I got home. And I had absolutely no interest in finishing it. Vindictive is the word I would use to describe the storyline. This book is about racism - it has nothing to do with Gone with the Wind. Ms. Randall seems to feel justified belittling and viciously attacking Ms. Mitchell's characters - except for the slaves, of course, they can do no wrong and are perfect in every way. I'm sorry I wasted my money on this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found the book interesting as it had a new twist. But I expected more from it than it offered. Still for the author's first book she did a good job.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My mother was born in Georgia, and I have lived in the South all my life (though not Georgia)--over forty years. I noticed that the author was educated and living in the northern United States, and I assume she has never lived in the South. I'm not an African-American, but I read the book for a different perspective (as I first read Margaret Mitchell's novel when I was 13 and saw the film for the first time in a theatrical release the year before.) Yes, I knew it was labelled a 'parody.' The major problem I had with the book was the use of phrases which were not in the venacular of the 1860s and followed later ('strange fruit'--Billie Holiday in the 1930s+)until now. The book Margaret Mitchell wrote was from a perspective of an earlier part of the 20th century. It is unfair to compare those views to a time after the Civil Rights upheaval of the 1960s--which I supported, and perhaps Mitchell herself may have supported had she not died before the 1940s ended. I'm not saying EVERYTHING has changed in the 'New South', but this book is inconsistent in its use of language and what was a PAST lifestyle which no longer so evident except for the plantations-turned-tourist attractions. I don't see this becoming a classic like Mitchell's book. Even the film deleted much of Mitchell's work--which was restored here and could confuse a reader of this parody.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the worst books I've ever read. It's not a parody because it's not at the least bit funny. It's annachronistic. Randall's heroine talks like she's from modern day New York. The book made me want to read GWTW because it never comes to life on it's own. If the law suit hadn't happened WDG would've sank without a trace. Look for it on the bargain rack as soon as the word gets out about how bad it is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I totally enjoyed the book and will probably pick up GWTW again for a different persective. It helps to know the GWTW novel not just the movie. The movie left alot out except you did get to see Gable!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel, shows the real picture of life on TARA. It gave a human side to the slaves and showed that they were more then mammys, field hands and sex toys for their owners.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very interesting book that I ever read totally different from famous and popular 'Gone with the Wind' books. Very good book and it could turn the book into four hours long movie some day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read Gone With the Wind right before I read this novel, because I wanted to be informed before I read this. I was really hoping this would be interesting and informative. Maybe it was to some people... I did not think it was very well written, and most of all, I thought the characters were NOT like those they were trying to parody. Given Gerald's attachment to Ellen, it seemed ludicrous that he would ever sleep with Mammy. The characters just didn't work. I also found it highly distracting that all the characters were so obviously from GWTW but had names changed slightly. It would have worked far better to just write a book that could stand on it's own. I mean, honestly, Debt Chauffeur?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was wonderful!!! It is disliked by many because they are from the "upper-side" and not the "under-side". Thanks to the author for making Gone with the Wind important to those of us who look more like Butterfly McQueen than Scarlet O'Hara. Wake up, people, Gone with the Wind was not a wonderful piece of literature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have not yet read this book, but as I was looking through the reviews for it on this page, I was at first intrigued by the way it is written from the point of view of Scarlett's black half-sister, but soon I became disgusted by the way it makes fun of Scarlett, and has Rhett having an affair with a black woman. Anybody who knows anything about GWTW would know that Rhett would never cheat on Scarlett. Don't get me wrong, because I know slavery was a terrible and immoral thing, and it's horrible that it ever happened, but it seems like this novel drags the classic picture of the Old South and GWTW through the mud. And believe me I do know what the antebellum South was like as I am a reenactor and tour guide at an antebellum plantation, not to say though that white men didn't have affairs with slaves. However, I also believe that GWTW was in many ways from an almost racist point of view, but one must understand that the South was really like that, and when Margaret Mitchell wrote it the South was very racist and obviously she was a white woman so her novel was very one-sided.But, I plan on reading this book so that I can return with a more informed opinion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to force myself to finish this book, I wish i hadn't even bothered. I think a much better book could be written about blacks in the south then. it seems like the main character is meant to be intelligent, but has the depth of a pole to me. It does not deserve the right to be compared with the greatest book ever written, Gone with the Wind. I really do hope that someone will write a better, more in depth, and intellectual book about what life was liekf or black people in the south. I think one could be good enought o be compared with Gone with the Wind. Oh, and I really don't give it one star, I give it minus one, but they made put something.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really disliked this book becuase it made i seem like the great Gone with the Wind sound like a terrible book. I would not recommend this book to other people.