George & Rue

George Elliott Clarke, Author . Carroll & Graf $23 (223p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1620-3

African-Canadian poet Clarke returns to the subject he treated previously in verse (Execution Poems) in this lyrical, original debut novel: the true story of the 1949 murder of a taxi driver in New Brunswick, Canada, by Clarke's first cousins, brothers George and Rufus Hamilton. The author and his characters are descended from African-Americans who immigrated to Nova Scotia at the end of the Revolutionary War, and he spins his tale in "Blackened English." The result is sparkling, powerfully inventive prose. Clarke begins the brothers' story with their impoverished, part black, part Mi'kmaq Indian parents, Asa (a violent "patriarch who felt commissioned to destroy his family") and the beautiful, tawny-skinned Cynthy. For George and Rufus ("just two black boys blackened further by Depression"), this lineage dooms them from birth, if not their very conceptions in Three Mile Plains, Nova Scotia. George is the simpler brother, willing to make an honest living, while Rufus, the younger brother but the leader, is brighter, more creative and ruthless—he only wants "to plot piano gigs and casual thefts." Petty crime escalates to murder in a desperate hope for cash, and Clarke eloquently plots the Hamiltons' tragic trajectory toward the crime for which they hang. Agent, Denise Bukowski. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 10/10/2005
Release date: 02/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 223 pages - 978-0-7867-1874-0
Hardcover - 223 pages - 978-0-00-225539-4
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4464-2467-4
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4434-0656-7
Paperback - 223 pages - 978-0-09-948517-9
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