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A Different Drummer von William Melvin…
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A Different Drummer (Original 1959; 1969. Auflage)

von William Melvin Kelley

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1713123,943 (4.2)4
The stunning, thought-provoking first novel by a "lost giant of American literature" (The New Yorker) June, 1957. One hot afternoon in the backwaters of the Deep South, a young black farmer named Tucker Caliban salts his fields, shoots his horse, burns his house, and heads north with his wife and child. His departure sets off an exodus of the state's entire black population, throwing the established order into brilliant disarray. Told from the points of view of the white residents who remained, A Different Drummer stands, decades after its first publication in 1962, as an extraordinary and prescient triumph of satire and spirit.… (mehr)
Mitglied:cwells
Titel:A Different Drummer
Autoren:William Melvin Kelley
Info:Anchor Doubleday, 1969 (1969), Paperback
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
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Tags:Fiction

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A Different Drummer von William Melvin Kelley (1959)

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Set in a fictional southern state of the USA in 1957, ‘A different drummer’ tells of the sudden and unexplained exodus north of the entire black population as seen through the eyes of the white who remain. Much of the story is told by members of the Willson family whose ancestors included a general in the Confederate army in the Civil War and who are former owners of a profitable plantation. Through their relationships with their black employees and former employees, they have come to appreciate the problems that they face in the south, their desire to be seen for their true worth and for a greater freedom.
This frustration is ably and subtly captured in Kelley’s revealing and imaginative writing and although at first the reasons for the exodus seem obscure, the final event fully exposes the racial tensions and shows that the views of the Willson family are not shared by all the local white population.
  camharlow2 | Jan 31, 2021 |
Hailed as a rediscovered classic, this 1962 debut novel examines the complexities of race relations in the American South, through the story of one extraordinary day. It’s a Thursday when the men who congregate on Mister Thomason’s shop porch see the salt wagon going by, up to Tucker Caliban’s farm. When they follow, they witness an unbelievable sight. Tucker, an African-American man who has only recently purchased his own land and built a house, methodically sows his entire acreage with salt, before destroying his livestock and setting the house on fire. He and his heavily pregnant wife leave without a word. In the days that follow, word spreads to the other African-American residents of the state and, one by one, they too pack up and leave. Kelley’s novel traces the roots of this event back through the history of the Caliban family and that of their employers and former owners, the Willsons. A blistering picture of a still-segregated South, it’s a sobering book – but one which proudly looks ahead to change...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2020/05/08/a-different-drummer-1962-william-melvin-kell... ( )
  TheIdleWoman | May 14, 2020 |
‘Thus begins a legend, Mister Willson.’

A re-publication of what is being hailed as a ‘lost classic’ of American literature, William Melvin Kelley’s 1962 novel centres on a fictional event in a fictional Southern state in 1957 when, following the lead of Tucker Caliban, the entire black population of the state ups and leaves to head north and more freedom. With shades of James Baldwin, and with the nuanced vision of the great American voices of Faulkner, Steinbeck and Lee, this is a visceral examination of Southern attitudes and a nation tearing itself apart. Seen through the shifting perspectives of a variety of white characters the story moves back and forward as we learn more about the Willsons, a typical Southern family dynasty, and the Calibans, especially Tucker, one of a line of slaves in the Willson property.

I did wonder at the outset why Kelley chose to write in this particular way: surely we want to hear the voices of the black population directly, not second- or third-hand and through the prism of the white ‘elite’? But as you read there is a generosity of spirit and a life-force that comes though the pages, and the more sympathetic white characters do indeed become rounded, meaningful characters. This is a book written in a different time, and the language and attitudes reflect that. Nor is it a perfect novel. But it is a telling indictment not only of our current times but every generation in between that the prejudices and issues remain, sometimes not always below the surface. The final scenes are a shocking and violent reminder of the very worst of humankind. No, this is not an easy or comfortable read, but I can totally understand why this is being pushed by the publisher as an important and timely rediscovery. Try to make time to read it, for it is indeed an important work.

(With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in return for an honest and unbiased review.) ( )
  Alan.M | Apr 16, 2019 |
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The stunning, thought-provoking first novel by a "lost giant of American literature" (The New Yorker) June, 1957. One hot afternoon in the backwaters of the Deep South, a young black farmer named Tucker Caliban salts his fields, shoots his horse, burns his house, and heads north with his wife and child. His departure sets off an exodus of the state's entire black population, throwing the established order into brilliant disarray. Told from the points of view of the white residents who remained, A Different Drummer stands, decades after its first publication in 1962, as an extraordinary and prescient triumph of satire and spirit.

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