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Of Love and Dust
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Group Reads: Moderator's Choice > Initial Impressions: Of Love and Dust by Ernest J. Gaines, September 2018

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message 1: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new)

Tom Mathews | 2746 comments Mod
Comments on this board should be written with the assumption that not all readers have finished the book. Please avoid revealing any spoilers.


message 2: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4399 comments Mod
Just started reading this last night. So far it is vintage Gaines, which is just fine by me. Marcus is the Cool Hand Luke of the bayou.


message 3: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (last edited Sep 01, 2018 11:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "Just started reading this last night. So far it is vintage Gaines, which is just fine by me. Marcus is the Cool Hand Luke of the bayou."

Very appropriate, Diane. And Bon Bon could have been played by George Kennedy.

Professor Gaines got his idea for Of Love and Dust from the song Tim Moore's Farm by Bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins.

Here are the lyrics:

Yeah, you know it ain't but the one thing, you know
This black man done was wrong
Yeah, you know it ain't but the one thing, you know
This black man done was wrong
Yes, you know I moved my wife and family down
On Mr.Tim Moore's farm

Yeah, you know Mr.Tim Moore's a man
He don't never stand and grin
He just said, "Keep out of the graveyard, I'll save you from the pen"
You know, soon in the morning, he'll give you scrambled eggs
Yes, but he's liable to call you so soon
You'll catch a mule by his hind legs

Yes, you know I got a telegram this morning, boy
It read, it say, "Your wife is dead"
I show it to Mr.Moore, he said, "Go ahead, nigga
You know you got to plow old Red"

That white man says, "It's been raining, yes, and I'm way behind
I may let you bury that woman, one of these old dinner times"
I told him, "No, Mr.Moore, somebody's got to go"
He says, "If you ain't able to plow, Sam
Stay up there and grab your hoe"

Bonding out a black man to "serve" his time by doing private labor for a wealthy white man was a common practice. The man out on this kind of "bond" ended up serving more time than he would ever have done in the pen. Watch the PBS Documentary "Slavery by Another Name" here:
http://www.pbs.org/tpt/slavery-by-ano... .


message 4: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4399 comments Mod
You're right. George Kennedy as BonBon would be perfect.


message 5: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4399 comments Mod
I finished, and love it. That bondage system was akin to, and in some ways worse, than slavery. Gaines pulls no punches. I also love Gaines treatment of older people, especially women. He credits them with so much wisdom born of experience. That has been the case in every book I've read so far.


message 6: by Janice (JG) (new) - added it

Janice (JG) | 136 comments This is the first Gaines novel I've read, and I had no idea what to expect. I don't know why I haven't read others of his works, except to say that authors of color, especially those of his time, were not well recognized among the literary canon. Well, my loss, and no excuse for my ignorance. Once again, this group has introduced me to an excellent Southern writer who I may never have known of were it not for these novels.

I am about three-quarters way through the story, and it has become a tension filled page-turner. I really have mixed feelings about Marcus and his plans. Gaines has given me much to think about.


message 7: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4399 comments Mod
That is typical Gaines. Every book gives you much to think about, and squirm over. In addition to a great story and great characters.


message 8: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Janice (JG) wrote: "This is the first Gaines novel I've read, and I had no idea what to expect. I don't know why I haven't read others of his works, except to say that authors of color, especially those of his time, w..."

Gaines as an American gem. Of Love and Dust was Gaines second novel published in 1967. I consider it his most politically motivated novel. His use of violence is at the forefront of the novel. By all means, continue to read him. You won't be disappointed!


message 9: by Janice (JG) (new) - added it

Janice (JG) | 136 comments Lawyer wrote: "Janice (JG) wrote: "This is the first Gaines novel I've read, and I had no idea what to expect. I don't know why I haven't read others of his works, except to say that authors of color, especially ..."

Off topic for a moment... I am currently reading Faulkner's Snopes trilogy with another group. I am in the second book - The Town - and discovering Lawyer Stevens. It dawned on me (aha!) who "Lawyer" of the Southern Lit group is named for. I feel silly - always the last to know : )

What a wonderful storyteller Faulkner is... the trilogy is a treasure.


message 10: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Janice (JG) wrote: "Off topic for a moment... I am currently reading Faulkner's Snopes trilogy with another group. I am in the second book - The Town - and discovering Lawyer Stevens. It dawned on me (aha!) who "Lawyer" of the Southern Lit group is named for. I feel silly - always the last to know : )"

Yes, it's true, Janice! Although many Faulkner critics have panned Gavin Stevens, he's one of my favorite characters. He's served as Faulkner's moral and legal mouthpiece more than once. My favorite "Lawyer Stevens" quote: "Some things you must always be unable to bear. Some things you must never stop refusing to bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame. No matter how young you are or how old you have got. Not for kudos and not for cash: your picture in the paper nor money in the bank either. Just refuse to bear them."--Intruder in the Dust


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