Goodbye, Sweetwater: New and Selected Stories

Henry Dumas, Author
Henry Dumas, Author Thunder's Mouth Press $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-938410-58-4
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
These excellent short stories will introduce the late Dumas, who was killed in 1968 at the age of 33 by a New York City transit police officer, to a wider audience as a profoundly gifted and intelligent author. His settings range from the small towns of the rural South to the explosive streets of Harlem in the late 1960s. The civil rights activist imbues his stories with myth and folklore, rightful anger and delineations of the inequities that exist for blacks in America. The author's invocation of the ethos of his people lends an honesty to the writings on racial tensions, yet never lapses into narrow-mindedness, and his trenchant rendering of pain, love, religious and family life is universally appealing. His rhythmic, eloquent style is both arresting and unique in its capacity to drive home the prophetic messages that inform his prose. From the young Southern boy named Fish-hound in the eerie ``Ark of Bones''who is told by an old Noah-like man, ``Son, you are in the house of generations. Every African who lives in America has a part of his soul in this ark''to the teenage narrator of ``Strike and Fade''a powerfully sketched glimpse of inner-city turmoil, who proclaims, ``I'm hurtin too much. I'm lettin my heat go down into my soul. When it comes up again, I won't be limpin''Dumas never fails to capture the spirit and collective consciousness of his beloved people. Portions of this book were previously published in Ark of Bones, Rope of Wind and Jonoah and the Green Stone. (May)
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