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by Zakes Mda
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312427069, Paperback)
A Picador Paperback Original
The hero of Zakes Mda's beloved Ways of Dying, Toloki, sets down with a family in Middle America and uncovers the story of the runaway slaves who were their ancestors.
Toloki, the professional mourner, has come to live in America. Lured to Athens, Ohio, by an academic at the local university, Toloki makes friends with an angry young man he meets at a Halloween parade and soon falls in love with the young man's sister. Toloki endears himself to a local quilting group and his quilting provides a portal to the past, a story of two escaped slaves seeking freedom in Ohio.
Making their way north from Virginia with nothing but their mother's quilts for a map, the boys hope to find a promised land where blacks can live as free men. Their story alternates with Toloki's, as the two narratives cast a new light on America in the twenty-first century and on an undiscovered legacy of the Underground Railroad.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:32 -0400)
"Toloki is a professional mourner who for years has traveled around his native South Africa grieving for the deaths of strangers. In Cion, he arrives for the first time in the United States in 2004, bewildered by the culture and fascinated by the strange family that takes him in as a guest. Toloki befriends the son, falls in love with the daughter, and learns from their mother a tradition of quilting that links her family to the escaped slaves who first settled the area. As Toloki's relationship with his host family deepens, he discovers in the quilts a portal to the story of their ancestors: the two boys, Nicodemus and Abednego, have escaped from a slave-breeding farm in Virginia and are making their way north to Ohio in search of freedom. Instead of a map, they have two intricate patchwork quilts, each sewn with coded clues that will lead them across the Ohio River to their future as free men." "The boys' story alternates with Toloki's own, and these parallel adventures cast a new light on America in the twenty-first century, and on an undiscovered legacy of the Civil War and the Underground Railroad."--BOOK JACKET.
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