Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Finds: Bernice L. McFadden, Literary Novelist

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Today for Friday Finds, I'd like to spotlight the literary novels of Bernice L. McFadden. I'm currently reading Ms. McFadden's debut novel, SUGAR, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary on January 9, 2010. Unfortunately, Ms. McFadden's books, like those of many other African-American literary novelists, are in danger of being allowed to go out of print.

In an open e-mail to book lovers, Ms. McFadden discusses what she believes is the common practice of publishers marketing the work of African-American novelists only to African-Americans. Ms. McFadden's email has been published in full on several blogs, and you can read it by clicking here. My intention right now is to bring your attention directly to her literary novels and to SUGAR in particular. In an effort to propel SUGAR back into the limelight, Ms. McFadden is asking that booklovers band together and purchase a copies for ourselves and/or as gifts. It is her goal to sell 10,000 copies before the anniversary date of 01/09/10. Buy it. Read it. Give it. It's good!

Description (from the publisher):
In a debut novel that blends the rich, earthy atmosphere of the deep South and a voice imbued with spiritual grace, Bernice L. McFadden tells the story of two women: a modest, churchgoing wife and mother, and the young prostitute she befriends.. "When Sugar arrives in 1950s Bigelow - waltzing down the main square of the sweltering tiny Arkansas town as if she has every right to be there - no one tosses out the welcome mat or invites her in for a Coke. The Bigelow women hate her from the minute they lay eyes on her - on the bouncing blond wig and red-painted lips that tell them she has never known a hard day's work. All they know is they want her gone, out of their town, and away from their men.. "But Sugar has traveled too far and survived too much to back down now. She parks herself in the house at #10 Grove Street, even though she feels there is something about Bigelow that is calling up the past she prayed she'd left behind.. "Deep in her soul, Pearl Taylor knows what it is that Sugar feels, because it happened to her. It was the day her world shut down, the day the devil himself murdered her young daughter, Jude. It wasn't that Pearl stopped believing in God, exactly; she just couldn't trust him the way she used to. Then Sugar moves in next door, and Pearl's life irrevocably changes. Over sweet potato pie, an unlikely friendship begins, transforming the lives of two women - and an entire community.

Description (from the publisher):
In This Bitter Earth, Sugar Lacey is on her way out of Bigelow, Arkansas, where she’d come to break with the past. With her worn leopard-print suitcase and her head held high, she walks past the prying eyes of its small-minded, cruel-hearted townsfolk, praying for the strength to keep going. She doesn’t stop until she arrives at her childhood home in Short Junction. Here she learns the truth about her parentage: a terrible tale of unrequited love, of one man’s enduring hatred, and of the black magic that has cursed generations of Lacey women. A powerfully realized novel that brings back the unforgettable characters from Sugar, McFadden’s bestselling debut, This Bitter Earth is a testament to the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

Description (from the publisher):
The poignant tale of a woman who discovers the fragility of life and thestrength of a family's love, from an author praised by Toni Morrison for “searing, expertly imagined scenes”

Known for bringing to life a host of endearing characters who reveal tender truths about humanity, Bernice L. McFadden now turns her storytelling talents to an unforgettable and deeply troubled woman named Camilla.

Unfolding in a progression of stirring and powerful chapters, Camilla's Roses presents a life haunted by the past. Camilla's childhood was immersed in chaos and love, and steeped in the myth of perfection. As an adult, she never looked back, refusing to acknowledge the people and places that had scarred her so many years ago. But a legacy of cancer proves inescapable, forcing Camilla to embrace the past—no matter how painful it may be—and to salvage what is left of her love in order to save her daughter. As Camilla discovers the bittersweet limitations of motherhood and reconciliation, she also awakens an inspiring message about the mortality issues we all must face.

Description (from the publisher):
Sherry has struggled all her life to understand who she is, where she comes from, and most important, why her mother slapped her cheek one summer afternoon. The incident has haunted Sherry, and it causes her to dig into her family's past. Like many family histories, it is fractured and stubbornly reluctant to reveal its secrets; but Sherry is determined to know the full story. In just a few days' time her extended family will gather for a reunion, and Sherry sets off across the country with her mother, Dumpling, to join them. What Sherry and Dumpling find on their trip is far more important than a scenic site here and there - it is the assorted pieces of their family's past. Pulled together, they reveal a history of amazing survival and abundant joy.

Descripton (from the publisher):
Despite being born to a broken-hearted mother and a faithless father, Campbell still believes in the power of love…if she can ever find it. Living in the same neighborhood, but unknown to Campbell until a chance meeting brings them together, is Donovan, the “little man” of a shattered home—a family torn apart by anger and bitterness. In the face of these daunting obstacles, Donovan dreams of someday marrying, raising a family, and playing for the NBA. But, deep inside Campbell and Donovan live the histories that have shaped their lives. What they discover—together and apart—forms the basis of this compelling, sensual, and surprising novel.

Description (from the publisher):
Now and then I forget things, small things that would not otherwise alter my life. Things like milk in my coffee, setting my alarm clock, or Oprah at four. Tiny things. One day last week I forgot that I hated my father, forgot that I had even thought of him as a monster, and woke up early one cold winter morning, boarded two buses traveling over an hour to sit by his bedside in Kings County Hospital...

Childhood can be rough. But for Kenzie, growing up in the Lowe home means opening the bottom drawer of her father's dresser to choose which of the three belts, coiled, waiting like snakes, she will get whipped with; trips to Beehive Liquors for her father's vodka; and dreaming of the day she can escape Apartment A5. Eventually, Kenzie does grow up and leave A5. She goes to school, she holds odd jobs, and develops her own craving for the bottle. Twenty years have passed-it's now the nineties-but not everything has changed for Kenzie. She is still haunted by her childhood, and learning that her father is dying she is shocked by her own desire to be with him during his final hours. Returning to his bedside day after day in search of a way to heal her pain, she comes to discover in her visits that some of us, like her father, have stories that "started out bad, curdled and soured in the middle, and ended up worse," but for many, there is still hope for change.

Click here to visit the author's website.

Click here to visit Naki, the author's blog.

Click here to read and/or participate in the ongoing discussion about Seg-Book-Gation in publishing on Galleycat.

Click here to visit the blog, White Readers Meet Black Authors.

Click here to visit the I Read In Color Web Ring.


Bernice L. McFadden said...

Thank you so much for this. It means the world to me.

Stephanie said...

Excellent post! I've been planning to post about this author, too.

itsJUSTme-wendy said...

Wow, these books sound really good! I will write this Author down and check out her books. Thanks!

Zibilee said...

I put Sugar and The Warmest December on my wish list. They all look like really great books, but I had never heard of any of them before. Thanks for spotlighting this author!

Kristen said...

These all look really good. Thanks for highlighting them!

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