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Roadwalkers

3.51  ·  Rating Details  ·  121 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In this amazing odyssey of two black women from the 1930s to the present, all the storytelling gifts of a brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning writer are abundantly displayed. When we first meet Baby, she's one of six black children abandoned by their parents during the Depression. They are roadwalkers - homeless wanderers across the rural South, leading a dangerous, almost en ...more
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published July 19th 1994 by Knopf
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The Color Purple by Alice WalkerTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonThe Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm XBeloved by Toni MorrisonInvisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Best African American Books
248th out of 604 books — 779 voters
The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann GrauThe Black Prince and Other Stories by Shirley Ann GrauThe Hard Blue Sky by Shirley Ann GrauThe Condor Passes by Shirley Ann GrauRoadwalkers by Shirley Ann Grau
Best of Shirley Ann Grau
5th out of 11 books — 3 voters


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Community Reviews

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Diane S ☔
Apr 30, 2014 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
3.5 It is the year 1934 , the depression just a few years in the past, many people have lost everything, some walked away from farms they could no longer keep. These people were called the Roadwalkers, often coming from the deep south hoping to get to the more prosperous North, others just walk trying to find new lives. Baby and her sister and brother join this group after they are left parentless and homeless. So begins the story of Baby.

There is something so addicting about Grau's writing, her
...more
Teresa
Jul 17, 2008 Teresa rated it liked it
This is the story of a mother (called Baby, later Mary) and then her daughter Nanda; and, unfortunately, it reads like two different books instead of one seamless work.

And while I absolutely loved the first 'book,' I was rather disappointed with the second part. Perhaps that's because I think more of the first character (and the man whose subplot intersects briefly with hers) would've been perfect -- she and her story (and his) were so interesting, so compelling, so unique, as were all the char
...more
Will
Jan 30, 2016 Will rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-2015
Roadwalkers, by Shirley Ann Grau, Kindle edition

105 That was the way she reckoned. Not by days, nor hours. Time did not lead one day to the next. Her days were like a hoard of bright-colored beads, their connecting thread broken, lying loose, single, jumbled.
140 Fire was their keeper and their enemy. Their life and their destroyer.
166 Summer fires were for joy. Winter fires were for survival.
249 They never spoke of her again. The space where she had been filled up with time and vanished.
403 Baby
...more
Marty
Jul 03, 2015 Marty rated it liked it
This is the story of an Afro-American mother and daughter homeless in the South during the Great Depression. First is the Mother’s story of being abandoned at a nunnery as a baby. She eventually wins recognition as an artist. Her daughter Nanda’s story continues as Nanda is sent to a private convent school (residence school) where she is the first to integrate the school. Her non-acceptance by the other students is partially because of her own reticence and attitude. The eventual rejoining of th ...more
Theresa
Oct 05, 2015 Theresa rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully-written book, and for the first half of it I believed I was going to give it five stars, however the promise of a story just around-the-corner never was fulfilled. There is virtually no plot. It's just a cluster of character profiles that were put there for no obvious purpose. Actually quite maddening. Okay so I've got this guy down: I know all about his personality, background, motivations, daily routine, dreams—WOOoosh! There he goes! Never to be seen again. Here comes an ...more
Chrissie
Feb 19, 2016 Chrissie rated it it was ok
On completion:

Although I gave the author's The Hard Blue Sky five stars and her Pulitzer Prize winner The Keepers of the House four stars, this one disappointed me. My reaction is simply that the book was just OK, thus only two stars. Almost the whole first half is a review of numerous characters (several generations of families that really are not the main focus of the book) and historical events (Civil War, Reconstruction, WW1 and the Depression). Lead events are simply dropped, never to be me
...more
Julie
Feb 28, 2015 Julie rated it liked it
I would call this book an epic story told from the point of view of two strong Women who rise up and make their way in the world and succeed.
Judy
Nov 09, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give up on this review. goodreads freezes my kindle before I can finish it and I'm not going thru it again I liked it
Sunshinedance
Apr 13, 2015 Sunshinedance rated it liked it
Really liked the first half of book, very descriptive but lost interest in the second half.
V.
Mar 24, 2014 V. rated it it was ok
A very odd book. The first half is actually a decent read, but I think the second half should have been a separate book altogether. Grau has a knack for creating intriguing characters, but here, she lacks a coherent plot.
Mary Alice
Nov 30, 2012 Mary Alice rated it liked it


This was a strange book. While it was about the same characters, it was not a linear or coherent story. I think it was well written and kept my interest enough that I needed to finish it. I think, in part, I kept reading because I was waiting for the revelation of what the story was about. I never actually got that.
Regina
Aug 02, 2010 Regina rated it it was ok
I was disappointed in this story. The reviews I've read have all raved about it, but I never really connected with these characters. There was no *feeling* in them; both girls/women seemed to move through life emotionless. I kept reading to see if it would get better. Unfortunately it did not.
Karen
Jul 27, 2012 Karen rated it it was ok
This book started out great. About half way through the focus of the book suddenly shifted from what was the main character to her daughter leaving you wondering what happened in the Mother's life after she left her adopted home. Very disappointing.
Nick
Sep 16, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it
Shelves: southern
I forget how great a good read filled with Southern Agrarianism can be. Then I pick up a Shirley Ann Grau, and all is right with the world. Even her "lesser" novels, such as this one, have a gut-wrenching everyman-ism to them that leaves me speechless.
Rosie
Nov 10, 2010 Rosie rated it it was ok
interesting.........wouldnt really recommend
Juli
Sep 25, 2015 Juli rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-and-1-2-stars
2.5
Cws
Aug 28, 2008 Cws added it
Shelves: adult-fiction
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Shirley Ann Grau (b. 1929) is a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist of nine novels and short story collections, whose work is set primarily in her native South. Grau was raised in Alabama and Louisiana, and many of her novels document the broad social changes of the Deep South during the twentieth century, particularly as they affected African Americans. Grau’s first novel, The Hard Blue Sky (1958), a ...more
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“These were our monuments, the physical signs of our passing, in the color of the door, in the screw holes and the edge marks of our sign. They held the shadow of us. Our ghosts lingered at this corner.” 1 likes
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