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Extended Audio Sample Ginny Gall: A Novel, by Charlie Smith Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Charlie Smith Narrator: Mirron Willis Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A sweeping, eerily resonant epic of race and violence in the Jim Crow South: a lyrical and emotionally devastating masterpiece from Charlie Smith, whom the New York Public Library has said “may be America’s most bewitching stylist alive”

Delvin Walker is just a boy when his mother flees their home in the Red Row section of Chattanooga, accused of killing a white man. Taken in by Cornelius Oliver, proprietor of the town’s leading Negro funeral home, he discovers the art of caring for the aggrieved, the promise of transcendence in the written word, and a rare peace in a hostile world. Yet tragedy visits them near-daily, and after a series of devastating events—a lynching, a church burning—Delvin fears being accused of murdering a local white boy and leaves town.

Haunted by his mother’s disappearance, Delvin rides the rails, meets fellow travelers, falls in love, and sees an America sliding into the Great Depression. But before his hopes for life and love can be realized, he and a group of other young men are falsely charged with the rape of two white women, and they’re shackled to a system of enslavement masquerading as justice. As he is pushed deeper into the darkness of imprisonment, his resolve to escape burns only more brightly, until in a last spasm of flight, in a white heat of terror, he is called to choose his fate.

In language both intimate and lyrical, novelist and poet Charlie Smith conjures a fresh and complex portrait of the South of the 1920s and 30s in all its brutal humanity—and the astonishing endurance of one battered young man, his consciousness “an accumulation of breached and disordered living … hopes packed hard into sprung joints,” who lives past and through it all.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A classic road novel…amorphous, tenderly atmospheric…His keen perceptions…return him to the mysterious meanings of a world of such beauty and cruelty.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “An intricate examination of the coming-of-age of a young black man caught in the cross hairs of American racial history. It is a sustained look at black suffering in the Jim Crow South, and a meditation on the hows and whys of black endurance…Smith creates a character sufficiently complex for the emotional tumult life will hand him.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “The infamous Scottsboro Boys trial forms the beating heart of this languorous story, but veteran writer and poet Smith takes the reader on many a detour before he gets there…A stark and revealing portrait of our collective past, and the overarching theme of justice denied remains disturbingly relevant today.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Poet and novelist Smith creates a harrowing, luminous Jim Crow story…Smith writes lushly, with a painterly eye [as] a riveting protagonist moves through unbearable racial carnage into a kind of legend.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Novelist and poet Smith lushly captures Delvin’s coming of age as he prepares for a career he doesn’t want and flees town because of a crime he didn’t commit…Transporting readers to town after town, this haunting tale is for fans of crime thrillers and travel narratives.”

    Library Journal

  • “Smith’s lyrical prose composes a strong sense of place…as well as a vivacious soul in his protagonist…Devlin’s world is a constant threat to him, creating the haunting undertones of his life’s story. His determination reminds readers that character is not defined by skin color.”

    Shelf Awareness

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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