Black Cloud, White Cloud

Ellen Douglas, Author, Elizabeth Wolfe, Illustrator
Ellen Douglas, Author, Elizabeth Wolfe, Illustrator University Press of Mississippi $30 (233p) ISBN 978-0-87805-393-3
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Included in this new edition of an important Southern writer's short fiction originally published in 1963 (and long out of print) are powerful illustrations by a young Southern artist. In these four stories, Douglas ( Can't Quit You Baby ) reintroduces some of the characters from in her award-winning first novel, A Family's Affairs . In their Mississippi-bounded, small-town lives, the big issues of race and relationships arise in varied and subtle forms. The House on the Bluff , home to the well-off Bairds, is controlled by their housekeeper, Tete, a remarkable and mysterious black woman whose legacy to a young child is summed up in the observation, ``A child so seldom senses justice in a grown person that he cannot forget it.'' This long story of a family's gentle evolution through the generations in an antebellum house is a masterpiece that subtly indicates the burden of relationships in families, between blacks and whites, in a shifting milieu. The remaining, shorter stories, ``Jessie,'' ``I Just Love Carrie Lee'' and ``Hold On,'' are equally rewarding, understated yet vibrant with compassion and understanding. (June)
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