Howard, Ravi Driving the King: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780060529628

Driving the King: A Novel

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9780060529628: Driving the King: A Novel

A daring and brilliant novel that explores race and class in 1950s America, witnessed through the experiences of Nat King Cole and his driver, Nat Weary.

The war is over, the soldiers are returning, and Nat King Cole is back in his hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, for a rare performance. His childhood friend, Nat Weary, plans to propose to his sweetheart, and the singer will honor their moment with a special song. While the world has changed, segregated Jim Crow Montgomery remains the same. When a white man attacks Cole with a pipe, Weary leaps from the audience to defend him—an act that will lead to a ten-year prison sentence.

But the singer will not forget his friend and the sacrifice he made. Six months before Weary is released, he receives a remarkable offer: will he be Nat King Cole’s driver and bodyguard in L.A.? It is the promise of a new life removed from the terror, violence, and degradation of Jim Crow Alabama.

Weary discovers that, while Los Angeles is far different from the Deep South, it a place of discrimination, mistrust, and intolerance where a black man—even one as talented and popular as Nat King Cole—is not wholly welcome.

An indelible portrait of prejudice and promise, friendship and loyalty, Driving the King is a daring look at race and class in pre-Civil Rights America, played out in the lives of two remarkable men.

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From the Back Cover:

In this arrestingly powerful novel of 1950s America, Ravi Howard, the award-winning author of Like Trees, Walking, reminds us that no black man, no matter how gifted or famous, could escape the racial tensions threatening to divide the country.

Montgomery, Alabama, December 1945. The fighting in Europe is over and war hero Nat Weary has returned to his hometown, eager to build his taxi business and marry his sweetheart. His childhood friend, the famous Nat King Cole, is also home for a rare performance. During the concert, Weary plans to propose, and the singer will honor the special moment with an unforgettable song.

But Weary's dreams for the future are destroyed when a white man, armed with a pipe, rushes the stage. Leaping from the audience, the soldier who valiantly fought for his country stops the assailant—an act of bravery that leads to ten years of hard labor in prison.

Free at last a decade later, Weary heads to Los Angeles to work for his old friend, Nat King Cole. It is the promise of a new life removed from the terror, violence, and degradation of Jim Crow Alabama. While the City of Angels is more progressive than the Deep South, Weary discovers here, too, that wealth, popularity, and talent cannot protect a black man from discrimination and hate. From his position as Cole's chauffeur and protector, Weary sees the capacity for human cruelty hiding behind Hollywood's glittering veneer.

Drawn back to Montgomery to lay some unfinished business to rest, Nat King Cole and Weary discover a city in the midst of change. A woman named Rosa Parks has inspired blacks to boycott the city's buses—a daring fight for dignity and rights that will eventually grip the entire nation.

Ravi Howard, winner of the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, creates an indelible portrait of pre–civil rights America and an exceptional friendship. Exploring the impact of prejudice and segregation, he pays tribute to the courage of ordinary lives and illuminates our capacity for hate, and for love.

About the Author:

Ravi Howard won the 2008 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for his novel Like Trees, Walking. He was also a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Howard has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Hurston/Wright Foundation, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the New Jersey Council on the Arts. Howard's work has appeared in Callaloo, the Massachusetts Review, the New York Times, and on NPR's All Things Considered. As a sports producer with NFL Films, he won an Emmy in 2005 for his work on Inside the NFL. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Montgomery, Alabama, December 1945. War hero Nat Weary has returned to his hometown, eager to rebuild his life. His childhood friend, the famous Nat King Cole, is also home for a rare performance. During the concert, Weary plans to propose to his sweetheart, and Cole will serenade them with a song.But Weary s dreams for the future are destroyed when a white man, armed with a pipe, rushes the stage. Leaping from the audience, the former soldier stops the assailant an act of bravery that leads to ten years of hard labor in prison.Free at last a decade later, Weary heads to Los Angeles to work for his old friend. It is the promise of a new life removed from the violence and degradation of Jim Crow Alabama. But he discovers that even in the City of Angels, wealth, popularity, and talent cannot protect a black man from discrimination and hate.Drawn back to Montgomery to lay some unfinished business to rest, Cole and Weary discover a city in the midst of change. A woman named Rosa Parks has inspired blacks to boycott the city s buses a daring fight for dignity and rights that will eventually grip the entire nation. A moving tale about bigotry and the power of friendship. People Heartbreaking. . . . A bold reimagining of [the] civil rights era. Los Angeles Times. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060529628

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Montgomery, Alabama, December 1945. War hero Nat Weary has returned to his hometown, eager to rebuild his life. His childhood friend, the famous Nat King Cole, is also home for a rare performance. During the concert, Weary plans to propose to his sweetheart, and Cole will serenade them with a song.But Weary s dreams for the future are destroyed when a white man, armed with a pipe, rushes the stage. Leaping from the audience, the former soldier stops the assailant an act of bravery that leads to ten years of hard labor in prison.Free at last a decade later, Weary heads to Los Angeles to work for his old friend. It is the promise of a new life removed from the violence and degradation of Jim Crow Alabama. But he discovers that even in the City of Angels, wealth, popularity, and talent cannot protect a black man from discrimination and hate.Drawn back to Montgomery to lay some unfinished business to rest, Cole and Weary discover a city in the midst of change. A woman named Rosa Parks has inspired blacks to boycott the city s buses a daring fight for dignity and rights that will eventually grip the entire nation. A moving tale about bigotry and the power of friendship. People Heartbreaking. . . . A bold reimagining of [the] civil rights era. Los Angeles Times. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060529628

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