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Damballah

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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  12 reviews
This collection of interrelated stories spans the history of Homewood, a Pittsburgh community founded by a runaway slave. With stunning lyricism, Wideman sings of "dead children in garbage cans, of gospel and basketball, of lost gods and dead fathers" (John Leonard). It is a celebration of people who, in the face of crisis, uphold one another--with grace, courage, and dign ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 6th 1998 by Mariner Books (first published 1986)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 209)
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Patrick
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Erin
I loved his lyrical prose, deeply human characters, and strong sense of place. Homewood was vividly created, and I appreciated its small but important victories in the midst of desperation and decay.
Grady McCallie
These are sad, hard stories about different members of an African American family extended across at least six generations. The style is modernist and literary - understated, often oblique, but conveying great weights of loss, suffering, and the enduring experience of poverty and racial injustice. What makes it particularly hard to read is the knowledge that many of the stories are informed by the history of Wideman's real-world family. It's not at all clear in this book whether the arc of histo ...more
Joy Prior
it is poetry put into a story and the characters frightenly real. there is no actual plot but a collection of short stories that make up themes. I did not understand all ofbthe connections but for some reason that was nh favorite part cause it was nice to read something that was so unique I could not predict the characters or the themes but I had to think bout them and reread sections tip they made sense. I really loved the book, but be prepared for language and content. the nature of the book i ...more
Mike Lemon
I come to this book as a ghost. I read it for my postmodern American literature class, and frankly, did not understand some of it. However, what I did understand, the importance of remembering the dead, storytelling, and family, comes across beautifully in Wideman's work. As he explores the idea of forging ties to the lost, African American past, Wideman creates an incredible microcosm, Homewood. I highly recommend this book, as well as the documentary "Jack Johnson: Unforgivable Blackness." Bot ...more
Mitchell Robinson
I really enjoyed this book. It's basically a collage of stories of a family that is the offspring of a runaway slave. All the stories seem to be dealing with how to keep faith in God and goodness in the face of a world where everything is confusing and finding a purpose is never fully possible. Very spiritually-enlightening. Loved it.
Scott
Sep 09, 2008 Scott rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: students of african-american literature
Recommended to Scott by: Dr. Gloria Cronin
Difficult to read, and discouraging except for the doggedly-determined. Wideman does a great job of interweaving the lives of Homewood's citizens, as well as incorporating his own life's experiences into the stories.
John Watson
Apr 07, 2011 John Watson is currently reading it
Wideman focuses on lyrical phrasing as he weaves his stories about childhood stories from his home town. Beautifully crafted.
Frankie Frasure
Excellent read! Truly captures the essence of the characters and draws you in to the moment.
Pia
Wideman is the consumate storyteller and these stories pulled me in with their ferocious beauty.
Risa
Jul 18, 2012 Risa marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Damballah by John Edgar Wideman (1986)
david
so beautiful
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20703
A widely-celebrated writer and the winner of many literary awards, he is the first to win the International PEN/Faulkner Award twice: in 1984 for Sent for You Yesterday and in 1990 for Philadelphia Fire. In 2000 he won the O. Henry Award for his short story "Weight", published in The Callaloo Journal.

In March, 2010, he self-published "Briefs," a new collection of microstories, on Lulu.com. Stories
...more
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