Wraiths and apparitions wander the fields and backwoods and cabin communities of the South Carolina Lowcountry swampland that are the setting for J. Douglas Allen-Taylor's lyrical and literary first novel, Sugaree Rising. In a story written in the tradition of the great chroniclers of rural African-American Southern life-Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Jean Toomer-the independence and elder culture of the isolated Yay'saw of Yelesaw Neck is threatened by a plan to dam the nearby Sugaree River and flood them out. The underlying threat of danger and violence that is an ever-present factor in Southern life runs through the novel like a deep-flowing current. But this is no predictable tale, and Allen-Taylor, a master storyteller with a unique style and view, takes the reader down unexpected pathways. Interwoven with the story of Yally Kinlaw, a young woman seeking out the spirit-legacy to which she is heir, are original poems and songs and folktales that recreate the musical, mystical, mythic world in which the African-American people were created, but which now has been all-but forgotten to history.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)|
|Age Range:||3 Months|
About the Author
J. Douglas Allen-Taylor is an award-winning journalist and political columnist who has written for several San Francisco Bay Area publications, including The East Bay Express, San Jose Metro, The Berkeley Daily Planet, Color Lines, and Race, Poverty & the Environment. He is a native of Oakland, California and lived for many years in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where Sugaree Rising is based.
Read an Excerpt
"Gradually Yally dragged the whole story out of them. Bonk Jackson had heard it across the river that morning, and when he got back over to Yelesaw, he had gone out with his two sons to spread the news. The whitefolks were making plans to put a dam across the Sugaree River somewhere just above Cashville. The dam would leave a deep lake in the bottomlands basin--the rivers and creeks, hundreds of homes, thousands of farmland acres, a wide collection of villages, the bulk of the Swamp, as well as the whole community of Yelesaw. It would flood out or touch its waters on practically every place she had ever been in during her entire life. The enormity of it was too much for Yally to take in."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Five Stars. A story that talk to the heart and soul. Brilliant book! 1936. South Carolina. There were talks before of the Sugaree river being dammed, but it came and went like the generations of Yay'saws in Yelesaw. Papa'Budi announced he ain't moving anywhere. His ancestors rising, coming from the other side of the grave, will find him in his house. The house he built himself. It was the only place they knew where to find him and it was their home too. Yally received messages from the ancestors, which she found hard to trust or relate to the community. It would take a long line of events one day to lead her to except who she was and what her purpose among her people would become. She was recognized by only one other person, Baba’Zambu, and he wasn't talking. The endearing and deeply-moving story is told with a wealth of colorful prose, a depth of history and a warmth of memories. Unique expressions fills the narrative from top to bottom. It is a story about one of the isolated communities and its people, centering mostly around the trials and tribulations of the families of Papa'Budi and Papa'Tee. There is humor and hardship, long tales and short stories and women who healed the hungry and the sick with the power of their hands and minds. It tells the story of men working in their rice fields and keeping important decisions as secrets among themselves and honor a deep bond with the Blacksnake river where history was written in skeletons and songs and only the elected few would receive the visions to relate it back to the community. A place where hoodoo and the mojo-bones were the unspoken guarantee of truth. I recommend this book to everyone. It is one of those treasures which accidentally appear on our walk of life and take root in our souls to stay. It is also one of the most beautiful pieces of enriching prose I have read this year, actually, in recent years. You simply must read it!
I had the priviledge of reading this novel before the publication date. It is a simply wonderful novel. I read it from start to finish several times, and I was just as enthralled with it on the second reading as the first. I couldn't put it down. The writing is, indeed, lyrical. Mr. Taylor is a wonderful story teller. The characters come alive--all of them, men and women, old people and young people. I recommend this novel as the perfect holiday gift for the person you know who lives to read a good book.