Sincerae's Reviews > Emancipation

Emancipation by Michael R.  Lane
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it was amazing
bookshelves: african-american-literature

This is my own personal bias and stubbornness, but since I live in America I'm usually disinterested in reading about what I already know about the people and the culture. This attitude started when I was a university student majoring in English literature reading all of those British authors and poets and watching BBC dramas and English melodramas from the 1930s and 40s. Shortly after I read Sigrid Undset's trilogy Kristian Lavransdatter I almost completely turned my nose up at American writers. Also being forced to read so much American literature for high school English classes also had a role in stymieing any enthusiasm I had about American writers. I would say Emancipation caused a return to American writing and literature. Admittedly, I've loved African American writers from the Harlem Renaissance period since the time I was introduced to them when I was in college, but I never took it upon myself to read beyond the African American literature syllabus. Emancipation and the current racial climate in the country may have brought me back to my roots.

Emancipation is a collection of short stories that I would describe as nearly a novel but not really. Here are twenty short stories beginning with a crazy old bum who preaches hellfire and damnation on the street followed in the same story the tale of a young boy named Gratey who is watching a World War II movie on television. The tragedy that happens that day in Gratey's home radiates out and resonates through the rest of the stories. These are slice of life psychological stories about everyday people many of us know or have heard about especially if we're African American, the people with good potential but who never quite find their way to a somewhat smoother path. There are also a few non-black characters here. The language is sometimes gritty, old school hip and at other times poetic. These short stories are a mixed narrative in sometimes the first sometimes the third person. The author Michael R. Lane shows that he really has observed people and has the capability to dive deep into the human soul. I really enjoyed this book and strongly recommend it.
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Reading Progress

April 20, 2014 – Shelved
April 20, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
July 18, 2015 – Started Reading
July 18, 2015 –
17.0%
July 18, 2015 –
23.0%
July 19, 2015 –
36.0%
July 21, 2015 –
49.0%
July 27, 2015 –
64.0%
August 6, 2015 –
90.0%
August 7, 2015 – Finished Reading
May 13, 2016 – Shelved as: african-american-literature

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