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Twelve Gates to the City by Daniel Black
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Twelve Gates to the City

by Daniel Black

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Daniel Black continues TL's story in his hometown of Swamp Creek, Arkansas, after he realizes a return to New York without the answers he sought would be another futile journey. TL returned to his hometown after a 10 year absence to find his sister dead, and his family unwilling to explain the circumstances surrounding her death.

The real story of his life slowly unfolds as he puts perspective on his New York buddy and a long-suffering girlfriend, accepts his role as the new teacher in the town's one-room schoolhouse, and begins to understand more about his immediate family. The answers come from many places in his community; the church (a traditional devotional hymn is key to the books title), the evening gatherings under the large 'meeting tree,' the secrets of the town's mystical and strange inhabitants, and the slow conversations TL finally has with each member of his family. The joy of the story includes mentions of characters in the author's previous books, including the Peace family of his previous novel, Perfect Peace, so if you've read all of his works, you will delight in some new information.

In Twelve Gates, TL learns the entrance to 'the truth' can be approached from many directions, and he learns each door opened reveals more understanding of where he fits in his life. The author, however, skirts the most sensitive discussion of sexuality and incest, so readers are unsure of how TL feels about it, as well. We read of many ways of life, some are gay, some cross-dressers, and others just plain incestuous or promiscuous, yet TLs sexuality (or comment on anyone's sexuality) is never revealed and furtively skirted. I must confess, the author's ploy makes TL seem more open-minded and less judgmental in his quest for truth. I truly enjoyed this story and hope to see another book on the adventures in Swamp Creek. I could rate it no higher because all the loose ends were not tied up. There are a few other questions not yet revealed; they must have slipped through one of the remaining eleven gates to the city. ( )
  greytone | Apr 2, 2013 |
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This novel is dedicated to all the children

of the world who were abandoned

and unloved.  This is the story of

your resurrection....
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Standing at the end of the road, where the brown scorched grass confronted the hot, black asphalt, TL looked around in disbelief, just as he'd done one week later.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312582684, Hardcover)

A novel of self-discovery, family bonds and the healing of one small southern town

Twelve Gates to the City is the much-anticipated sequel to Black’s acclaimed debut, They Tell Me of a Home. In this novel, Sister assumes the voice of the narrator, speaking from the spirit realm, telling her brother TL things he could have never known about their family. She constructs the story as a series of spiritual revelations, exposing to readers both who she was in the years of TL’s absence and how every event in his life was an orchestration for his return.

TL in the meantime is back in Swamp Creek, to stay this time, but he’s still haunted by his sister’s death. His decision to become the Schoolmaster is the only thing he’s sure about, and his impact upon the students becomes palpable. But he still doesn’t know what happened to Sister. As he searches for ultimate truth, he discovers the secrets and beauty of Swamp Creek.

Twelve Gates to the City is a novel about spiritual revelation, and communal healing, ushered in by one who finally realizes that his gifts were bestowed upon him, not for his own glory, but for the transformation of his people.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:29 -0400)

"Twelve Gates to the City is the much-anticipated sequel to Black's acclaimed debut, They Tell Me of a Home. In this novel, Sister assumes the voice of the narrator, speaking from the spirit realm, telling her brother TL things he could have never known about their family. She constructs the story as a series of spiritual revelations, exposing to readers both who she was in the years of TL's absence and how every event in his life was an orchestration for his return. TL in the meantime is back in Swamp Creek, to stay this time, but he's still haunted by his sister's death. His decision to become the Schoolmaster is the only thing he's sure about, and his impact upon the students becomes palpable. But he still doesn't know what happened to Sister. As he searches for ultimate truth, he discovers the secrets and beauty of Swamp Creek. Twelve Gates to the City is a novel about spiritual revelation, and communal healing, ushered in by one who finally realizes that his gifts were bestowed upon him, not for his own glory, but for the transformation of his people"--… (more)

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