Fire in Beulah

Fire in Beulah

by Rilla Askew
4.5 2


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Fire in Beulah by Rilla Askew

Set during the tense days of the Oklahoma oil rush, Rilla Askew's Fire in Beulah is a mesmerizing story that centers on the complex relationship between Althea Whiteside, an oil wildcatter's high-strung wife, and Graceful, her enigmatic black maid. Their juxtaposing stories—and those of others close to them—unfold against a volatile backdrop of oil-boom opulence, fear, hatred, lynchings that climax in the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, when whites burned the city's properous black community. Askew's award-winning first novel, The Mercy Seat, was praised for its astute diepiction of family bonds and the beauty of American landscape. Now she explores the American race story with the same perception.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142000243
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/31/2001
Edition description: REISSUE
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 333,115
Product dimensions: 5.45(w) x 8.37(h) x 0.83(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Rilla Askew is the author of Strange Business, a collection of stories, and of the novel The Mercy Seat, nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association Award and winner of the Western Heritage Award and the Oklahoma Book Award. She divides her time between the San Bois Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma and upstate New York.

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Fire in Beulah 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am an educated, white professional female who has just completed reading 'Fire in Beulah' and has had the stark realization that the truth of my home's history has been covered up. Rilla Askew's blend of non-fiction and fiction regarding one of the darkest moments in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the United States is a revalation to the soul. Caucasion and having been born and raised in a small (white) community 20 miles north of Tulsa (Skiatook), the secrets of the 1921 race riot have been revealed through the gripping talents of author, Rilla Askew. The turbulant time was covered up and kept a secret for generations. I am thirty-nine years old and the Tulsa's darkest 'secret' was never mentioned publically until in 1986. The signifigance of the riot was undermined by several since it was kept hush, hush. The history books in college and in high school never dared mentioned such a startling episode regarding the black experience in America. Reading through Askew's story of hatred, shamed me. As I closed the book upon completion, I sat in silence, alone, tears streaming from my eyes and my heart ached. The narrative of the facts of the riot were riveting and troubling. I thought that Ms. Askew told a very important story very well. It opened my eyes as I could vision the places she mentioned, downtown Tulsa, Greenwood, Bristow, Skiatook, Big Fork but most importantly, her complete, decriptive narratives of the characters; Althea, Graceful, Hedgemon, Japheth, Franklin, etc. As the truth was slowly revealed to me, I felt anger and sadness. Askew took on a subject that is so dark, troubling and shameful, that the rich whitemen of the generations that followed, chose to do everything in their power to keep it hidden from their children and those that followed. The stark realization that hate ran so deep and was so intense is horrifying. I am the parent of an inter-racial child. My belief of freedom and equal rights for the African American people has always been a compassion for me but somehow, it has taken on an entirely new meaning now. It is much more profound within me. I am saddened to think how this cruel act of hatred knocked the 'black man' down once again. Greenwood in 1921 was the 'Wallstreet' for African Americans in America at that time. They were finally making progress and obtaining their dreams. White men destroyed their progress. Had this incident not happened, then imagine the difference Greenwood in the 1920's would have made to the African American people and their cause. The last few decades of the civil rights movement would have been quite a different story. I am ashamed of my race. I strongly reccomend 'Fire in Beulah' to everyone, of any race. It is a truth that must be told and the compelling fictional story as told by Ms. Askew will make it extremely difficult to place the book down. At times the lingo is a bit hard to understand, but the meaning is very clear. Your emotions will run in every direction and the knowledge you gain will leave you asking for more. Because of the realization of the signifigance of this episode of history, I have an overwhelming desire to do more research on the subject. A turbulent time, a part of our history; white and black. It is most assuredly a 'must' read book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago