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Drapetomania: Or, The Narrative of Cyrus Tyler & Abednego Tyler, lovers

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  19 reviews
When house-servant Abednego is sold away south, his heartbroken field-hand lover Cyrus snaps and flees the estate on which he has lived his entire life. Leaving everything he knows behind him, evading dogs and patrollers as he heads north, in the midst of a dismal swamp Cyrus receives the revelation that Abednego is his true North Star, and, impossible though it seems, he ...more
Paperback, 502 pages
Published May 17th 2018 by Team Angelica Publishing (first published May 14th 2018)
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Mar 09, 2021 rated it it was ok
When I found out there was actually another novel about gay slaves in the antebellum South, published a couple years before this year’s much-hyped The Prophets , I was excited and eager to see if this earlier version, the first of its kind as far as I know, had succeeded where its successor fell short.

Sadly, my hopes were dashed once again! Guess I’ll have to keep dreaming of the day a writer will finally illuminate this neglected corner of history without bloated storytelling and overwrought
Lonnell Williams Williams
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hands down the most compelling read in years. Suspenseful pose deliciously detailed you’ll want to savor it all. Though you’ve never read a story like this you’ll appreciate brilliant execution of the narrative. Nearly 500 pages in length, it appears daunting but is anything but. Truly A MUST READ. A MUST!!!
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ok, I just finished this book and I must write about it while it's fresh. I started this two days ago and felt driven to finish it.

It is an innovative story set in slavery days and features an M-M love story.  It is not a short book and a huge section depicts the journey of one's a grueling and gruesome part of the book, but it demonstrates the devotion one can have for another.  And this is a compliment: it read like a movie.

It's a sweet story and I'm so glad that it does NOT fol
Dominic Hall
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a fine Victorian style novel. It is broad in scope and drama. The characters are lightly but assuredly drawn. The action pops in among the tense journey - particularly so in Cyrus' narrative. There is much here that is familiar but a great deal of new and heart wrenching narrative to excite, disturb and educate the reader. This novel is at times touching, brutal, domestic and epic. It is the story of two men but in its scale and vision it is the story of us all. ...more
Christopher Jones
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
EPICally BRILLIANT in EVERY respect, from the beginning , to the middle , right through to the end , delivered on every level ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️Totally recommendable
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
****Full review and Q&A over at G. Jacks Writes****

Reading this book was such an experience for me. Each chapter, character action, the accuracy in the details, the pacing; all of it reads like an epic. I went through several stages of what felt like a symbolic, yet temporal, metamorphosis, both emotionally and consciously, by the lives illustrated by some of the enslaved characters in this book. So, I will try to keep my notes and thoughts on the story linear with this post.

Drapetomania is br
Steven Benson
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow; this was an endurance test; and so-given the beyond searing subject matter- it SHOULD have been.
John R. Gordon has spent 10 years writing a narrative of remorseless Biblical and Gothic prose which mirrors the rhythms of the horrific lives of these gay male Southern U.S slaves; and their journey towards freedom. He does not, nor should he, spare us ANYthing.

Cyrus's going further South(where slavery was even MORE prevalent) in his desperately moving journey to find his same-sex lover, Abedneg
Daniel Olson
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable book. It’s an epic romance between two enslaved men full of adventure, tension, rich detail, and humanity. Gordon does a phenomenal job of bringing the landscape and material culture of the antebellum South to life. The book is long (nearly 500 pages!) but so is the best fantasy/adventure fiction. Cyrus and Abednego’s journeys propel the story forward with as much excitement and suspense as Odysseus’, Frodo’s, and Huck Finn’s stories. Having gay, black, heroic, romantic lead ...more
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic novel and I can't say enough good things about it. Set in the deep South just prior to the Civil War, it's a beautifully written account of two slaves who find love between them on a plantation. Cyrus is a field hand while Abednego works as a house servant. When Abednego is sold to another plantation, Cyrus makes the very bold decision to run and rather than head towards the relative safety of the North, heads South to find his true love. The author's ability to capture the t ...more
Sophie Rees
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely stunning novel.

Beautifully written and gripping, I could hardly put it down. Every sentence felt like a small work of art.

The subject matter was very hard hitting, but well presented.

I couldn’t recommend this book more highly.
Vic Marriott
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-loved
One of the most enjoyable reads I have had in a long time. I missed some sleep because I just could not at times put the book down. A beautifully written and compelling story -Dickens crossed with Homer, it feels like a classic work with an iconic character in Cyrus.

Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Admittedly, I don’t read fiction a lot, but this is top-tier historical fiction. John R Gordon is such a gifted writer. It ain’t easy to write a novel set in pre civil war America about two enslaved *Queer* Black men and have it be heartbreaking and heartwarming, simultaneously.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyable on so many levels. A compelling adventure story of escape from slavery, an examination of human nature at its best and worst, a love story. A very rich experience.
Rick Sutton
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing style.
Great unique story - got hooked and didn't want to put it down.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was really exciting and riveting. It seemed very well researched, and if certain fortuitous events sometimes strained credulity, it was in the interest of keeping the plot moving and our hero alive. I felt like it was sort of a hyper-realistic Dickensian tale set in the last gasps of the slave-owning South. The feeling of terror was palpable throughout the Gothic setting, and the humanity of the slaves brought into such sharp relief with their treatment. In one respect, in the slave south, ...more
Jacob Atkins
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Th 4.5 rating is not wrong - this is a magnificent book. It is not a light read; every page is powerful. It has stayed with me long after I read it and it's one of those few books I could see myself reading again. ...more
Terry Anderson
4.9 Stars

Why not 5 stars? See the last paragraph.

This was without a doubt one of the most emotional and moving books I have read in a long, long time. John Gordon’s writing is stunningly beautiful, intimate, and powerful. The story is dramatic, sensitive, almost unbearably cold in its realistic descriptions of human misery, and yet it is also uplifting and hopeful.

If you can get past the first few pages and prepare yourself emotionally for what’s to come in the next 500, you will be rewarded wit
David Jarvis
Preposterous story

This was a preposterous story. Although the prose was well written, it did not complement the period in history that was being written about. That BOTH black men seemed totally comfortable with their homosexuality was bizarre, especially given the cultural mores and religious beliefs of the times. The slave revolt was a joke on many levels.
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tensely Engaging

It’s obvious a lot of historical research was done in the creation of the novel. It’s a fascinating read, capturing what life may have been like during the time period for gay men in general, and black gay men in particular.
rated it liked it
Jul 30, 2019
Eric Pullett II
rated it it was amazing
Aug 08, 2020
Kevin Milton
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Jul 30, 2020
Ted Durst
rated it it was amazing
Jun 29, 2020
Mark Bittlestone
rated it it was amazing
May 11, 2019
Niklas Olaison
rated it it was amazing
Aug 05, 2020
rated it it was amazing
May 02, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Aug 09, 2020
rated it it was amazing
May 17, 2020
Lori Ortiz
rated it really liked it
Jul 10, 2020
Caleb Logan
rated it liked it
Dec 05, 2019
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John R. Gordon lives and works in London, England. He is the author of three novels, Black Butterflies, (GMP 1993), for which he won a New London Writers' Award; Skin Deep, (GMP 1997); and Warriors & Outlaws (GMP 2001), both of which have been taught on graduate and post-graduate courses on Race & Sexuality in Literature in the United States. He script-edited and wrote for the world's first black ...more

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