Yesterday Will Make You Cry (Old School Books)

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9780393045772: Yesterday Will Make You Cry (Old School Books)

A classic restored -- the complete and unexpurgated text of the first, most powerful, and most autobiographical novel of this great African-American writer.In 1937 Chester Himes, newly released from a seven-year stretch in the Ohio State Penitentiary for grand larceny, finished his first novel, Yesterday Will Make You Cry. By turns brutal and lyrical and never less than totally honest, it tells the autobiographical story of young Jimmy Monroe's passage through the prison system, which tests the limits of his sanity, his capacity for suffering, and his definition of love. Stunningly candid about racism, homosexuality, and prison corruption, the book would take sixteen years and four subsequent revisions before being published in much altered form as Cast the First Stone in 1952. Even bowdlerized, it was recognized as a sardonic masterpiece of debasement and transfiguration.This edition presents for the first time the book precisely as Himes intended it to be read, with its raw honesty and startling compassion entirely intact. It now stands definitively as one of the great novels of prison life and one of Himes's most enduring literary achievements.

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Review:

Yesterday Will Make You Cry, the story of a young man's brutal sojourn in prison, was first published in 1952 as Cast the First Stone. Author Chester Himes had intended to write a book based on his own prison experiences, but when publisher after publisher turned it down, Himes rewrote the text. He turned his third-person narrative into a first-person narrative, eliminated flashbacks, and toned down the sometimes poetic language. The revision became, so the new editors tell us, "a hard-boiled prison novel." Finally restored in the form of the original novel, Yesterday Will Make You Cry is the heartfelt book Himes would have had us read: it is occasionally brutal, always uncompromising, and sometimes harrowingly moving.

About the Author:

Chester Himes was the author of the legendary series of Harlem police procedurals starring Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones. He died in 1984 in Alicante, Spain.

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Himes, Chester B.
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Chester B. Himes, Melvin Van Peebles (Introduction)
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