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Maxine Clair

190 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0374247161 / ISBN 13: 9780374247164
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux, New York, 1994
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Clayton Fine Books (Shepherdstown, WV, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Fine in dustjacket. Widely praised first novel. Signed by Clair on the title page. Bookseller Inventory # 000228

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Rattlebone

Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux, New York

Publication Date: 1994

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition (SIGNED).

About this title


A vivid recreation of the black Midwest of the 1950s focuses on the fictional community of Rattlebone, north of Kansas City, introducing such unforgettable characters as the new schoolteacher, October Brown, and young but wise Irene Wilson. A first novel.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Each of these related stories contains insight and intensity on its own; as a group they successfully create the African- American 1950s Kansas City (Kans.) community of the title as an insular world replete with detail and texture. In her fictional debut, Clair (Coping with Gravity, not reviewed) works from the outside in to show her characters, beginning with the way others see them and ending with their visions of themselves. Irene Wilson is the linchpin who connects them to one another, and the narrator of several stories. In ``October Brown,'' she observes her parents' marital problems and watches as her new teacher moves in on her father. ``Cherry Bomb'' has Irene recounting her early, awkward stabs at sexual contact with her cousin's friend Nick and the jottings she made in a diary, as well as her friend Wanda's revelation that she has gotten her first period. ``A Most Serene Girl'' follows Irene as she makes friends with Geraldine and visits her family's basement apartment in a ``tourist home''--which, Geraldine informs her, means that people can rent rooms there to have sex, and she and Geraldine establish an afternoon routine of peeking through keyholes. ``Secret Love'' explains why Irene's friend Wanda abruptly stops allowing Irene to read her own diary after her retarded brother Puddin'--who likes to eat mayonnaise out of a jar with his hand--is taken away. Other characters have their say as well. In ``The Roomers,'' the owner of a boardinghouse who has never been able to have children tells of asking unmarried schoolteacher October Brown to leave because of her pregnancy and chasing her husband away in the process. ``The Great War'' explores Irene's mother Pearlean's feelings about her husband as she sits on the front porch. Even greater than the sum of its admirable parts. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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