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Redwood and Wildfire

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  98 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
At the turn of the 20th century, minstrel shows transform into vaudeville which slides into moving pictures. Hunkering together in dark theatres, diverse audiences marvel at flickering images. This “dreaming in public” becomes common culture and part of what transforms immigrants and “native” born into Americans. Redwood, an African American woman, and Aidan, a Seminole Ir ...more
Paperback, First, 448 pages
Published April 2011 by Aqueduct Press (first published February 1st 2011)
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168th out of 381 books — 189 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 687)
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Craig
Aug 16, 2013 Craig rated it really liked it
Currently reading....
Imagine if Zora Neale Hurston wrote a fantasy novel....
K. Lincoln
Sep 21, 2012 K. Lincoln rated it it was amazing
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I first cracked open Redwood and Wildfire. I was ill prepared for this densely woven, free-spirited kind of writing mixing a horrific lynching, a girl who can catch a hurricane in her hand, stories from an irish/seminole drunkard's life, cooning in Chicago vaudeville, and the kindness of a country doctor lending poetry books to white trash and coloreds in rural Georgia.

Running through the prose is the pulsing, visceral awareness of body; skin, co
...more
Lashawn
May 31, 2012 Lashawn rated it it was amazing
I've been listening to the Carolina Chocolate Drops for the past few months now. I've always been a fan of bluegrass, but when I learned that blacks also did old timey music, that it was the precursor to the blues, it was like discovering a history I never knew of myself. Reading Redwood and Wildfire was also like that.

Having lived in Chicago most of my life, I never understood what my ancestors went through when they migrated from the south. I married a white man by choice; I have white friends
...more
Doug
Jul 14, 2013 Doug rated it really liked it
I finished Hairston's harrowing and beautiful Redwood and Wildfire about a week ago, and I've been struggling to write about it in a way that does it justice. But it's today that I learned about the acquittal of one George Zimmerman in the murder trial of one Trayvon Martin, and that -- and what it says about how far we haven't come, or how far we've backslid -- makes a tangled ball of anger in my gut and an urgency to say something now.

Racial tension is one of the central defining elements of R
...more
Jo
Feb 04, 2012 Jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I felt like it did a lot of things right. I loved the celebration of black and American Native cultures. I loved the fantasy elements that decorated it throughout. And I did really enjoy the characters who got to shine.

When I think about it, it has some superficial characteristics: All good characters are either colored, Native American (or a mix), "Foreign" or Gay. All the bad characters are white. And, you know, I think that kind of distinction is awful in any book
...more
heidi
Apr 11, 2012 heidi rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, wiscon
I keep trying to type up this review and then stalling in the middle and rebooting my browser and losing it. I think it is a sign that I should not try to say so much about the book.

This is a sprawling novel following two characters from rural Georgia, across time and distance to their reunion in bustling Chicago of the 'teens. Redwood/Sequoia is a singer, a dreamer, a magic-worker. Adrian Wildfire is a man haunted by bad memories and demon rum. The most important thing is that he truly believes
...more
Susie Munro
Sprawling, at times horrific and completely captivating novel brimful of magic, Redwood and Wildfire is the story of two people struggling to live their truth in a world brimming violent and subtle oppression. Hugely relatable despite being almost entirely outside my (white, Australian) frame of reference, I loved pretty much everything about it.

**wanders off to buy everything Ms. Hairston has ever written**
Sumayyah
Mar 07, 2015 Sumayyah rated it really liked it
Redwood Phipps is a hoodoo, daughter of one of the most powerful conjure women Peach Grove has even seen. After Garnett is lynched - for the crime of killing the white man that raped her - Redwood's power grows. Aiden Wildfire, known around town as Crazy Coop, has conjure magic of his own. Child of a Seminole man and an Irish woman, it is Aiden who cuts Garnett's body down and befriends young Redwood. Fast forward to history repeating itself; Redwood kills the white man who rapes her and flees t ...more
Joell Smith-Borne
Jun 12, 2012 Joell Smith-Borne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf-f
Really liking this book. Excited that I will have read this year's Tiptree winner BEFORE Wiscon for a change!
Miz Lizzie
The 2012 Tiptree Award winner deals with gender-issues subtly and race-relations a little more directly, but at its heart is a story of two people creating the magic necessary to make their dreams come true. In the early years of the twentieth century, Redwood Phipps is an African American girl with the same hoodoo gifts as her mother who meets a violent death when lynched while trying to protect the colored section of Peach Grove, Georgia with magic. Aidan Wildfire is a Seminole and Irish Ameri ...more
Melinda
This is the story of Redwood and Aidan (Wildfire) and it begins with an event that traumatizes them both for different reasons. They are different in a world that wants them not to be and through the years they gravitate towards each other for comfort and companionship. But this event helps to mold them into the adults they become because of their response to this even. Set in late 1800s through the early 1900s, we travel with Redwood and Aiden through the swamps of Georgia to the promise land o ...more
Zola
Jan 23, 2014 Zola rated it it was amazing
Crossing time, historical memory, and structures of race, gender, and society with seven-league boots, Hairston's remarkable novel is a thought-provoking pleasure for both Hairston admirers and those new to her work. Redwood, the smart, empathetic protagonist and Hairston's elegant prose carry the reader through an adventurous tale rich with historical and social complexity. Archivists, historians, librarians, blues enthusiasts and readers with related interests will find much to love in this bo ...more
Pandemonium
Feb 11, 2012 Pandemonium rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
This book is brilliant.
This book is thrilling and moving and full of new ideas and wisdom.

This book, named by lit. critic, Tansy Rayner Roberts, "one of the best fantasy novels of 2011," is totally unique. There is NOTHING like it out there.

Filled with fascinating characters, including a wonderfully large number of great African-American women characters, this book is a rollicking, heart-stopping adventure full of romance and magic and amazement.

It is one of those books you CAN'T put down - and
...more
Holly Mcentee
Jun 05, 2015 Holly Mcentee rated it liked it
A Tiptree winner - read it and you'll see why. Interesting characters and a believable world.
Mely
Last year's Tiptree Award winner. Romance between a black woman and a biracial (white/Seminole) man which starts off in rural Georgia early in the twentieth century and ends up in Chicago. Lots of good stuff about race, class, sexuality; different approaches to building black success/maintaining black community in the US; the soul-killing effects of necessary complicity with white stereotypes of black and Native people in theatre and film; the importance of art and storytelling to surviving and ...more
Rivera Sun
Mar 15, 2013 Rivera Sun rated it really liked it
If you love the fantastic: hoodoo, haints, spells, theater, backflips, blues singing, magic, circus; this book is for you. It's a wild read. Every page thrusts you into a new sweep of the adventure. (Warning, it can get dizzying at times.) The characters are strong, rich personalities both spooky and magnificent at the same time. The cultures Andrea Hairston describes are complex and so full of story that you find yourself wishing you could stay and visit longer with every twist of the fast-movi ...more
Cherylin
Jan 16, 2014 Cherylin rated it really liked it
A beautifully complex epic done out in fantastical prose that can sweep you up (but occasionally I got lost in the long descriptions). Refreshingly interesting and realistic characters, and probably the most effective depiction of recovery and the patience demanded of love that I have ever read. I will be reading more by this author.
Lisa
Sep 06, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
While I may have a slight bias as Andrea Hairston was a former professor of mine, I still found this book a beautiful, rich, evocative and powerful story. The book merges together everything I’ve loved–theatre, women’s stories, historical research, social issues, culture and race. In other words, this amazing former professor has written the book I can only dream of writing. She has done it with powerful imagery, a true understanding of character, and the ability to bring her words to life.
Edith Hope Bishop
Oct 10, 2014 Edith Hope Bishop rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
Such a rich and magnificent world. I don't know how Hairston made me feel that the early 1900s are familiar, but she did. Her style and characters reminded me of Zora Neale Hurtson, but the magic here might fit more into a book by Isabel Allende. Perhaps one of the best things to be said of any novel is that it felt both immersive and real, and so this one did. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to wayward lovers, theater rats, and magical realism enthusiasts.
T
Jul 08, 2013 T rated it liked it
3.5. I really liked the writing style and the main characters and their romance, and the moments when Redwood used her magic were fantastic and beautiful, but in between the plot was kind of slow and meandering and didn't grab me as much, and it became hard to push through to the end.
David
Jul 23, 2012 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: never-finished
A slow read. Not bad, but not good enough to hold my interest. I gave it a good shot -- almost exactly halfway through -- but finally decided I'd rather be reading something else.
Alisa
May 17, 2012 Alisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff
I will admit that it took me a little while to get into this. But once Redwood and Aidan finally came alive for me, I was hooked. Good stuff.
Megan
May 24, 2012 Megan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-magic
This is the 2011 Tiptree winner. I have been reading it the past few nights and am mourning it being over.
Lisa
May 23, 2016 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sff, history
I'm not done living these people. I would dearly love a sequel.
Nathaniel
long but very worth it. slows down in the middle, but picks up again.
Celeste
Sep 08, 2013 Celeste rated it it was amazing
One of the most excellent books ever.
Juniper Nichols
Juniper Nichols marked it as to-read
May 25, 2016
Christina Browne
Christina Browne marked it as to-read
May 18, 2016
Asif Anonto
Asif Anonto marked it as to-read
May 18, 2016
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SciFi and Fantasy...: 2011 Tiptree Award Winner 11 65 May 20, 2012 03:52PM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: 2011 Tiptree Award Winner 1 20 Apr 29, 2012 02:54PM  
Feminist Science ...: 2011 Tiptree Award 1 16 Apr 29, 2012 02:48PM  
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Andrea Hairston is an African-American science fiction and fantasy playwright and novelist who is best known for her novels Mindscape and Redwood and Wildfire. Mindscape, Hairston's first novel, won the Carl Brandon Parallax Award and short-listed for the Philip K. Dick Award and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.

She is the Artistic Director of Chrysalis Theatre and has created original productions wit
...more
More about Andrea Hairston...

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“No one should let yesterday use up too much of today. Easy to say, hard to live.” 5 likes
“You want me to lie for you?" Aidan asked, watching them.

"Believe in me, the way you did in my mama."

Aidan wheezed and sputtered. What did she know 'bout him and Miz Garnett?

"Please." She sounded like a young gal and a grown woman too. "Believe in me."

"That's the most a person can do for another," Aidan said.

"I believe in you too.”
3 likes
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