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Corregidora

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  1,565 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
Here is Gayl Jones's classic novel, the tale of blues singer Ursa, consumed by her hatred of the nineteenth-century slave master who fathered both her grandmother and mother.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 15th 1987 by Beacon Press (first published 1975)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rowena
Apr 06, 2015 Rowena rated it really liked it
Shelves: african-american
"You asked me how did I get so beautiful. It wasn't him. No, not Corregidora. And my spirit, you said, like knives dancing. My veins are centuries meeting."


There are some books that are just so merciless you wonder how on earth the characters even manage to survive all that brutality. But they do and then you wonder how they deal with all that accumulated pain and whether they can live a “normal” life. This book deals with some difficult topics such as slavery, domestic violence, and rape. It a
...more
Ralowe Ampu
Jul 18, 2013 Ralowe Ampu rated it it was amazing
plantation violence is sexual violence is state violence. girl, this is some drama. i don't know how i feel about the ending. it's all a mess. i was kind of shocked that after the clear analysis that it settled. but was it really settling? is it just an ongoingness that is familiar, and comforting in its familiarity? i felt comfort in this harrowing intergenerational storytelling of plantation sexual violence? is it because it played toward a truthful account of history? was recognizable? or was ...more
Christy
Corregidora is an intense exploration of sex, desire, and history. Ursa, the protagonist, struggles with her own sexuality, her womanhood, and her responsibility to bear witness to the horrible history of enslavement that her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother instill in her. Their storytelling and passing along of this history is both a necessary way of remembering that past which has created the present and a form of abuse that prevents her from fully living her own life.

"...your root
...more
Missy J
Warning!
This is not for the faint-hearted. Gayl Jones wrote a very dark and painful novel here.
Ursa, a blues singer is repeatedly told by her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother "to make generations" so that their suffering will never be forgotten. You see, the Portuguese Brazilian owner of Ursa's great-grandmother had not only ripped apart the documents, but he also fathered Ursa's grandmother and mother.

This traumatic experience of sexual violence and incest becomes a distressing fact a
...more
Stian
Mar 24, 2015 Stian rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, owned-books
This is a pretty disturbing and powerful book. If you've ever listened to blues, then you know the feeling this book will give you. This is a "blues" novel, to be sure.

Set in the 1940s, Blues singer Ursa Corregidora is haunted by the past -- not so much her own, but rather the past of her great grandmother, her grandmother, and her mother. Simon Corregidora, a slave owner, raped both Ursa's great grandmother and grandmother. They obsessively tell the story of all this -- the rape, the torture,
...more
Nakia
Aug 25, 2016 Nakia rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-give-up
I realized today that the only reason I was pushing through this book was to say that I'd read it. But that's not enough reason to read nearly 200 pages, so I stopped somewhere after page 100. Everyone speaks so highly of it and of Gayl Jones as a writer. I might need to check out her other work because this one lost me on almost every other page.
Mocha Girl
Oct 20, 2009 Mocha Girl rated it liked it
From the time that Ursa Corregidora is able to listen, she is told by her great-grandmother that she must retain "the evidence" in order to pass it on to her children. Initially, one would think this is a harmless request. However, "the evidence" is an oral history of how her great-grandmother was raped and then used as a whore by her white slave owner, Corregidora, as was her daughter (Ursa's grandmother) after her. Corregidora then impregnates Ursa's grandmother (his biological daughter) to pr ...more
Inda
Mar 18, 2012 Inda rated it it was amazing
I first read this novel more than 10 years ago and it became a favorite because I could easily identify it as a blues novel. However, upon re-reading just a few days ago, I was reminded of why Gayl Jones is my favorite author. There was so much more to this novel that I understand better after a decade. The importance of history and "generations" is something that would have gotten past me years ago, but I see how it forms the central point of the novel now. Jones has a way with words and rhythm ...more
Alexa
May 07, 2016 Alexa rated it really liked it
Shelves: fab-16, woc-16
An explicit look at sexuality in some very tangled relationships; a rather twisted love story. There’s lots of pain here, paralyzing grief, crushing burdens from the past, an inability to determine one’s own desires, but I found it deeply satisfying. I love the immediacy, the straightforwardness of the writing style. Absolutely beautiful!!!
Khemauset Ankh
Oct 31, 2011 Khemauset Ankh rated it it was amazing
Corregidora! Wow! this is a powerful little novel. It's small in page numbers, and it is HUGE in theme. It is the epitome of Black women's fiction in under 250 pages. It is painful, it is uplifting; It is informative.

This is a stellar effort while she was still in grad school. Quite Gayl Jones: Still waters run deep, for sure!

Great Read!
Michelle Turner
Aug 16, 2016 Michelle Turner rated it liked it
Shelves: diaspora, book-club
Gayl Jones Corregidora is an unsettling tale that describes the generational effects of slavery. Simon Corregidora was a Brazilian slave master who used his slaves as prostitutes and raped them so that they would bear his seed. Father to both her mother and grandmother, Ursa Corregidora is his legacy. She has spent most of her life listening to her grandmother’s narratives of his abuse. Urged to “make generations” so that she too could leave oral evidence of these crimes, Ursa is consumed with a ...more
John Pistelli
Aug 06, 2014 John Pistelli rated it really liked it
The cover of this edition makes it look like a horror movie--and that's not at all wrong. An intense novel, terse as a modern lyric, a monologue organized around its central image: the three generations of women in the house, telling over and over to the child of the fourth generation the story of the brutal incestuous pimp and rapist slave-owner Corregidora, the father of the heroine's grandmother and her mother, hence the source of her surname. The women transmit the trauma to the child becaus ...more
Lief
Sep 10, 2010 Lief rated it did not like it
In a similar style as Toni Morrison, this novel discusses the issues of feminine identity in the African-American culture just after the Emancipation. My issues with this novel are the same I typically have with books by Morrison--I'm okay with feminist issues, I'm okay with racial issues, and I'm okay with sexual issues, but when you combine them, it tends to be a bit much. I also find the profanity distracting rather than an aid to the novel. Perhaps because of these reasons, I had a difficult ...more
Ellen
Apr 11, 2015 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, own
Rating: 3.5 stars
OngoingRain
Apr 01, 2016 OngoingRain rated it it was ok
2'5ish
Okay, please let me rave about this book.
Ehem, ehem.
Well, this book was going to get like a 3/3.5 rating from me until the last 2 pages.
YES! Crazy, right?
This book was entertaining! It was like nothing I had read before, honestly and it made me feel interested.
Lots of sexy time scenes but with deep meaning, a cruel historical background, feelings, secrets, family stories, well, lots of different things all together and promising.
But the real issue comes in the end, in the last two pag
...more
Laura Jean
Nov 30, 2011 Laura Jean rated it it was amazing
Achingly beautiful. This story held me, hurt me, loved me, hated me--much like the narrator's lovers. Jones writes the past in the present and the present in the past; every word is charged with the weight of experience--of the experience that is yours and that has been taught to you by your mother, your mother's mother, and back to the first memory, the worst hurt, of your mother's mother's mother. It could go on endlessly, and it is all there, ruining and sustaining what is in the now.

I wish
...more
Ariel
Feb 28, 2008 Ariel rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2005, noteworthy
A poetic and gritty masterpiece. The prose is sexual and violent, but at the same time vulnerable. I feel like this book did for me what Beloved never quite could. It's so very raw and not as dependent on this idea about motherhood that always seemed like a stumbling block in teaching a book to high school or college students. It's not for the easily offended or upset, though. Although it artfully implies a lot more than outright tells it is pretty graphic and physiologically intense. There is u ...more
Martha Toll
This is an amazing, important book.
Princess
Searing. My God.
Anardo Miller
Jan 20, 2016 Anardo Miller rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: African Americans
Recommended to Anardo by: Teacher
CoRregidora is about a African American woman named Ursa. Her mother and grandmother have the same father, CoRregidora. He was a white slave owner and he had a thing for dark chocolate women. He often raped his slaves. Ursa's great grandmother and grandmother tells Ursa to pass the story down to her generations so they never forget what happened. Something happens to Ursa that keeps her from being able to do this.

I liked the structure of the novel. The book happens in chronological order, but it
...more
Nancy
Very difficult reading here ( or re-reading, as it is a book I read 25 yrs ago). I read my old paperback, pub 1986 and the James Baldwin quote on the front cover: Corregidora is the most brutally honest and painful revelation of what has occurred, and is occurring in the souls of Black men and womem". As a white woman it is way way too easy to forget my privilege. We live in such a hugely racist society, and human history is so damn brutal. There is so much to learn, to remember, to witness, to ...more
Adrienne Concra
Jun 09, 2016 Adrienne Concra rated it really liked it
This is the first book that I read by Gayl Jones. It's about Ursa, a woman in her 20's trying to understand her past and trying to make a future. I sad legacy of slavery, her greatgrandfather and grandfather were one in the same person. That phrase "I'll make another one like you" holds true here. The only power woman hold is through the passing of the family story from generation to generation. When Ursa's husband assaults her, she looses her ability to have children and therefore the ability t ...more
Kidada
Jul 22, 2012 Kidada rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
A disturbing but beautiful novel that illuminates some of the psychological residue of slavery on the descendants of enslaved people. One thing that I also appreciate is the fact Jones's writing acknowledges that the legacy of New World slavery is a diasporic issue, shaping the historical trajectories of people throughout the Americas.
Omni
Dec 19, 2007 Omni rated it really liked it
Im not sure how I want to rate this. I want to give it a 5, and a 3. I would give it a 5, but it left me so confused and raw feeling. So maybe that makes it deserve the 5 actually. I dont know. But I think I have a literary answer for anyone who asks me why I study psychological issues related to WoC (women of color).
Bri
Mar 22, 2011 Bri rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen
Mar 10, 2012 Karen rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, lfpc, bww
My apologies to any Gayl Jones fans but ... WTF?
Angie
Aug 21, 2016 Angie rated it really liked it
Major Field Prep: 76/133
This novel about a small-town blues singer, Ursa Corregidora, relays the generational inherited trauma of sexual exploitation and abuse of enslaved women, passed down through purposeful storytelling and witnessing from mother to daughter. Ursa struggles with the tension between a personal and a collective memory, identity, and purpose in the world particularly after she is thrown down the stairs by her husband and, wounded, is required to have a hysterectomy. Without the
...more
Amy
I heard someone on a podcast (perhaps Book Riot) mention this as one of those books that will tear you into 100 pieces and devastate you. And now that I've completed it, I completely understand the recommendation. This is a very, very dark novel. One that really is devastating to the reader. The anger and pain in this novel really get into your head as you read. You FEEL it. You experience it. I don't think I can do this one justice in a review. The story explores the long-lasting impact of slav ...more
Anjanette V
Oct 17, 2013 Anjanette V rated it liked it
a sad kind of novella, just shy of 200 pages, jones introduces us to 20-something ursa, a beautiful blues singer in a cafE who suffers terribly when she loses both her unborn baby and her ability to bear future children in the same accident (which she blames, rightly, on her husband). she is haunted by matriarchal remembrances of slavery and rape, seduction and oppression, love and hate blurring and bouncing through generations. it's a kind of navigation and self-discovery for our main character ...more
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500 Great Books B...: Corregidora - Gayl Jones 2 14 May 07, 2016 09:52PM  
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  • The Salt Eaters
  • Brown Girl, Brownstones
  • Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America
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  • A Taste of Honey: Stories
  • The Street
  • The Chaneysville Incident
  • Maud Martha
  • Black, White, and in Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture
  • Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo
  • Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday
  • Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
  • Philadelphia Fire
  • Black No More
  • The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey
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Gayl Jones (born November 23, 1949) is an African-American writer from Lexington, Kentucky. Her most famous works are Corregidora, Eva's Man, and The Healing.

Jones is a 1971 graduate of Connecticut College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English. While attending the college she also earned the Frances Steloff Award for Fiction. She then began a graduate program in creative writi
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“She was closed up like a fist. It her very own memory, not theirs, her very own real and terrible and lonely and dark memory.” 4 likes
“It was as if she had more than learned it off by heart. Though. it was as if their memory, the memory of all the Corregidora women, was her memory too, as strong with her as her own private memory, or almost as strong. But now she was Mama again.” 3 likes
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