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Standing at the Scratch Line

by Guy Johnson

Series: King Tremain Family Saga (Book 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1081196,164 (4.04)2
An exuberant novel about dreaming big dreams and honouring black heroes. A page turner full of pride, energy and passionate people' - Black Issues Book Review 'A big, good-hearted book, carried along all but effortlessly by the power of the images it has tapped into and by Guy Johnson's remarkably adroit writing' - The Washington Post The excellently received debut novel by the son of writer Maya Angelou, this is a sweeping saga that takes in much of the history of black people in America in the first decades of the 20th century.'… (more)
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This book is jam packed with -- with what? -- adventure? suspense? plot-twists? If it was a movie, it would have a form of "Deliverance" in it, a healthy dose of "Band of Brothers", a smorgasbord of "The Godfather", "Mississippi Burning", and what I would say fits the form, if not the proper setting of a terrific Western, like "Pale Rider". And yet, it ends with a mix of Old Testament Bible and Greek Tragedy. In short, it's not lacking in content. And it does not come across as contrived as it goes through all these machinations. Of course, the fact that it's centered on racially black characters, pretty much takes it off the mainstream reading list, as it would most assuredly have been a massive best-seller otherwise. I have a slight problem with the level of literary skills, but I'm comparing it to some exemplary wordsmiths whose writing styles I prefer. This is not badly written. Actually, my biggest issue with the book is the second most significant character's utter unlikability after first being setup as a potential counterbalance for the raw nature of the main character. But then, I wouldn't tolerate such total lack of personal grace, so maybe it's just me. ( )
  larryerick | Apr 26, 2018 |
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An exuberant novel about dreaming big dreams and honouring black heroes. A page turner full of pride, energy and passionate people' - Black Issues Book Review 'A big, good-hearted book, carried along all but effortlessly by the power of the images it has tapped into and by Guy Johnson's remarkably adroit writing' - The Washington Post The excellently received debut novel by the son of writer Maya Angelou, this is a sweeping saga that takes in much of the history of black people in America in the first decades of the 20th century.'

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