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Preview — Ruby by Cynthia Bond
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Ephram Jennings met young Ruby when she and her cousin happen upon him fishing in the local pond. They take him with them to meet with the local voodoo woman Ma Tante. This sets the tone for the book and the author brings alive the scene and scared the crap outta me. She sees that Ruby ...more
There are many positive reviews for RUBY, and I can understand why to a certain extent. There were some things I loved about it. The book contains beaut ...more
The small town of Liberty, Texas, offers its residents anything but liberty. People find themselves bound by secrets, both theirs and those of others. It's a place where God's word is in everyone's mouth, but it's the devil who rules their hearts--and he roams the woods at night. With hypocritical righteousness and dark intentions, the town turns as a whole on Ruby Bell. The beautiful and spirited Ruby is a mo ...more
Edited to add on 2/20/15: 1 star, or why Oprah really got it wrong with this selection.
(Full disclosure: book abandoned at page 62 [out of 326 pages].)
Sometimes when a story tries too hard to impress it ends up the exact opposite of what the author intends: mediocre. Such is the case with Ruby. Already in the first 62 pages it's clear author Cynthia Bond was overly ambitious, with the result being over-description and melodramatic characters.
Told partially in flashback form, th ...more
The writing is elegant in so many places .
"Blackened nails as if she had scratched the slate of night. Her acres of legs carrying her , arms swaying like a loose screen. Her eyes the ink of sky, just before the storm."
"They stared at each other under the ancient sky with the soft rain and the full wet earth. More than anything Ephram wanted to talk to her and tell her things he'd kept locked in the storehouse of his soul. He wanted to talk to her about the way Rupert Shankle's melons split on t ...more
Ruby by Cynthia Bond is a profound debut novel featuring two beautiful, yet battered souls. On one hand we have Ruby. Evident from page one she comes off as a woman who has seen better days. People of Liberty watch her as she begs Miss P for food. She's no longer the beauty she once was, but still Ephram Jennings only sees her through loving eyes.
Ephram Jennings has loved Ruby since they were children and has never stopped. After seeing her fall so far from glory, Ephram decides to save he ...more
Cynthia Bond writes like a young Toni Morrison. I love Toni Morrison, but I must say that I much prefer her earlier work. Morrison's writing has always been phenomenal, but her more recent books do not engage me. They're gorgeously written, ...more
What most summaries neglected to say is that the writing is spectacular. Really, truly. And that pulled it up out of the other qualms I have about it. Those qualms include, well, the constant ...more
In a small area, on the Eastern side of Texas, there is a town(ship) named Liberty, but don’t let the name fool you, for this town is filled with enough oppression that the name Liberty may seem totally unconceivable. The oppression is not only contrived from the segregation and fear that the “Whites” uphold toward this “Colored” section of Liberty, but the town seems to be possessed by creatures of the evil kind, as ...more
This book is truly unlike anything I’ve ever read. For me, personally, the keep-reading factor was multi-faceted. The story is filled with haints and the souls of small children – and I believe it is up to the reader to d ...more
While filled with numerous "ghostly" flashbacks and dark topics including child rape, baby brutality, racism and animal cruelty, its saving grace was Ephram who (view spoiler)[eventually (hide spoiler)] shows his deeply rooted love and perseveres through beatings and ridicule during Ruby's fight (view spoiler)[ to come out of the dark. (hide spoiler)]
I, unfortunately, d...more
Any time someone can transport me into another world within minutes, and make me feel sympathy pains for characters in a book as if they were my kin deserves high praise. This book was like a low, gutteral moan...
The imagery was astounding. The sweat and dust in a lazy small town. The characters were both tender and gritty. There was the spooky element of voo-doo, but also the heartbreaking love st ...more
1. Cynthia Bond is going to be big.
2. There will be comparisons to Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison ; and Ruby will be compared with Morrison's Beloved .
3. Readers will say, "More, please, Cynthia Boyd."
4. Boyd's work will enter the canon of Southern and African American literature.
Disclosure: I received a copy of Ruby: A Novel from Goodreads as a First Reads lucky winner.
A PS added 26 April 2014: If you've noticed the 2014 BookCon buzz about diversity issue ...more