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The Book of Harlan During World War II, two African American musicians are captured by the Nazis in Paris and imprisoned at the Buchenwald concentration campThe Book of Harlan opens with the courtship of Harlan s parents and hisbirth in Macon, Georgia After his prominent minister grandfather dies, Harlan and his parents move to Harlem, where he becomes a musician Soon, Harlan and his best friend, trumpeter Lizard Robbins, are lured across the Atlantic Ocean to perform at a popular cabaret in the Parisian enclave of Montmartre affectionately referred to as The Harlem of Paris by black American musiciansWhen the City of Light falls under Nazi occupation, Harlan and Lizard are thrown into Buchenwald, the notorious concentration camp in Weimar, Germany The experience irreparably changes the course of Harlan s life Based on exhaustive research and told in McFadden s mesmeric prose, The Book of Harlan skillfully blends the stories of McFadden s familial ancestors with those of real and imagined characters ➠ [Epub] ➚ Longbow Girl By Linda Davies ➪ – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk two African American musicians are captured by the Nazis in Paris and imprisoned at the Buchenwald concentration campThe Book of Harlan opens with the courtship of Harlan s parents and hisbirth in Macon [Read] ➲ On His Naughty List By Jessica Jarman – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk Georgia After his prominent minister grandfather dies ➭ Fire Colour One Read ➵ Author Jenny Valentine – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk Harlan and his parents move to Harlem [PDF / Epub] ❤ Invisible Wounds ✅ Kay Douglas – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk where he becomes a musician Soon [KINDLE] ❆ A City Possessed By Lynley Hood – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk Harlan and his best friend [Download] ✤ Her Husbands Mistake Author Sheila O& – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk trumpeter Lizard Robbins ➵ Mr Dove Über Den Wassern Read ➼ Author Maurice Shadbolt – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk are lured across the Atlantic Ocean to perform at a popular cabaret in the Parisian enclave of Montmartre affectionately referred to as The Harlem of Paris by black American musiciansWhen the City of Light falls under Nazi occupation ❮PDF / Epub❯ ☃ Squirmy Wormy ✐ Author Lynda Farrington Wilson – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk Harlan and Lizard are thrown into Buchenwald [Reading] ➿ Honeymoon By Sacha J. Witt – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk the notorious concentration camp in Weimar [Read] ➵ Puck You Author Peyton Novak – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk Germany The experience irreparably changes the course of Harlan s life Based on exhaustive research and told in McFadden s mesmeric prose ❮KINDLE❯ ❄ Mountain Moonlight ❁ Author Jane Anderson – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk The Book of Harlan skillfully blends the stories of McFadden s familial ancestors with those of real and imagined characters Author Bernice McFaddenPrint Length 354 pages Kindle 400 pages hardcover Publisher Akashic Books Reprint edition April 11, 2016 Publication Date April 11, 2016 The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion Frederick Douglass printed in The Book of Harlan, page 281, Kindle There are rare literary moments when a reader is given a gift so magnificent that it defies adequate definition when Seshat embraces and guides the writer s pen and thoughts, leading them thr Author Bernice McFaddenPrint Length 354 pages Kindle 400 pages hardcover Publisher Akashic Books Reprint edition April 11, 2016 Publication Date April 11, 2016 The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion Frederick Douglass printed in The Book of Harlan, page 281, Kindle There are rare literary moments when a reader is given a gift so magnificent that it defies adequate definition when Seshat embraces and guides the writer s pen and thoughts, leading them through overgrown, encumbered historical paths toward a promised land a place that is quietly pure, emotionally significant, and afforded to few Fortunate for us, Bernice McFadden has ambled along that path, bathed in the elusive light of wisdom and promise and has stamped down the thorny and entangled frondescence so that the beauty at the end of that path may be embraced Her hands and mind have indeed been kissed by Seshat.In The Book of Harlan, Ms McFadden reveals the holy grail of conflict a plethora of social, emotional, political, racial, and religious issues, marching into the controversial realm of each without apology Readers are afforded the fortunate opportunity to commune with a literary presence Ms McFadden endowed with an indescribably beautiful vision.The myriad of images in The Book of Harlan are vivid, and Ms McFadden s love of subtle details burst like a floral symphony after a warm spring rain The colors of each line, page, and chapter are explosively bright, and in her essential and historical brilliance, Ms McFadden previously I stated that she is in the class of Walker, Morrison, Angelou, and I must add Kincaid , presents the novel with the eye of a gifted cinematographer The reader is, as a result, graciously endowed with an indescribable, and lasting emotional connection.At the start of the book, the reader meets Emma Robinson and the Robinson family Quickly it becomes obvious that the family has some capital means and their confident, almost arrogant, air belies their acknowledgment of their good fortune The Robinson family traveled the city in a shiny black buggy, pulled by not one horse but two horses page 3 Kindle Their residence is a house reminiscent of the surreal, quaint country dwellings often planted on several country acres where the loudest sound one hears is the evening s wind McFadden states that they the Robinsons lived among the Black elite of Macon the doctors, lawyers, teachers, and ministers, and not a maid or ditch digger among them pg 3 Emma is the youngest and the only girl Stereotypic as a teenaged character, she seems to hunger for an existence of greater adventure This hunger she expresses in silent vividness by her admiration of Lucille, her friend and a jazz blues singer who is offered a glamorous life on the road Emma s strict upbringing and denial of these raucous endeavors, causes her to long for itEmma meets and confirms a mutual attraction with Sam Elliot, a good looking, quiet and easy going carpenter from Kentucky, and her life heads in a different and completely unpredictable direction Sam is smitten and spends every possible moment in pursuit of Emma His intentions are honest His love for Emma is real But, as would be expected, her family is distrusting.McFadden takes the story along the path of secretive affection and through the chambers of lost virginity The Robinson family s resolve is tested by Emma s unplanned pregnancy, quick marriage, and decision to move the first of many from Macon to DC after the birth of she and Sam s child It is after the birth of Harlan that the novel truly becomes The Book of Harlan.The short chapters are like staccato movements breath, awakening, flow, ebb, pure, constant, short and intentional Ms McFadden provides intensity, conflict, resolution, and intrigue most evidently beginning with the horrific, fiery suicide of Darlene, the sister of Harlan s best friend Beautifully, Ms McFadden uses Darlene who is characteristically flat as a powerfully appropriate apparition for the events in Harlan s life my thoughts In my opinion, she played a vital role in the tribulations of Harlan s life, including throughout his adulthood.Harlan opts to pursue music and drops out of high school He joins and performs poorly with Lucille s band and is introduced to marijuana, under the promise from fellow musicians that it will make him play better And it does tremendously This sort of internal conflict from external influences is Ms McFadden s sweet spot the place where her glow begins to shine even brighter.Midway through the novel, Harlan befriends Lizard, a Jewish musician whose Blackish demeanor and period influenced style grants him the ability to evade inquiries about his ethnicity Their bond is quick, affectionate, and brotherly, and together they form a band After finding and flexing their chops in the US, they are offered an opportunity to perform in Paris War was declared at the time of their travel, and the climate of the book changes, becoming, at that very moment, far greater than the sum of its parts reflecting tension and chaos, joy and pain, and a level of sorrow so massive that it remains, even in present reality, immeasurable We feel, deeply, the details of this tension Ms McFadden ensures that we do pummels us with a constant barrage of elation and fear extracting the elements of each until there is nothing recognizable left, like a conductor building a crescendo from the quiet of piano In the hush of night, after otherwise tense but ordinary affairs, Harlan and Lizard are accosted, bludgeoned, and abducted by Nazi soldiers The novel, already very alive, transforms further, raising the reader s blood pressure and leaving them desperately gasping for air and clutching at the rocketing pain in their chest.Harlan s return to America after several years of unnerving events in Europe presents its own symphony of challenges The many events experienced by Lizard and Harlan after their abduction, introducing to some and confirming for others the historically excluded conflict that occurred between Nazi soldiers and people of African descent, exceeds my ability to give it the justice it greatly deserves Ms McFadden packs the novel with so much of her magic that no review or critique could ever effectively capture its depth With each word and turn of the page the intensity builds, and the transition and tone of the story, from this point to the very end, epitomizes literary exactness And it is here that I feelthan compelled to discontinue my summary.There are no short cuts Yes, this is a must read type of novel.This review commentary has, for reasons I cannot explain, been the most challenging I have attempted Perhaps it was the details within the book or my personal admiration for Ms McFadden s work that made commenting difficult Perhaps I made the greatest faux pas, by reading the reviews of others and commenting on their comments.Maybe it was because of this.I have never written a review by summarization or through extracting too many details from the story, but for reasons unknown I was entranced by a deep need to do so with this book Perhaps, to me, Harlan is an exceptionally familiar character, reminding me subtly of my grandfather, or uncle, or a distant cousin, or the man down the street Perhaps I see Harlan within myself searching, finding, losing, and reborn Maybe Harlan is many, or perhaps he embodies such layers of complexity that he is no one at all.Whoever he is to you is correct His facets are many Bernice McFadden and Seshat made him that way After reading The AMAZING Book of Harlan, I am certain, with absolutely no doubt, that you will agree I enjoyed reading this book very much I loved it There is so much to love in these pages, and so much attention to history There is a loving attention to characters and their foibles that I found very endearing I cared a lot about these people The story resolved itself in an ending that, although completely implausible, was entirely satisfying It was that kind of story a story where I loved the characters and wanted good things to happen to them The book is muchabout heart than hea I enjoyed reading this book very much I loved it There is so much to love in these pages, and so much attention to history There is a loving attention to characters and their foibles that I found very endearing I cared a lot about these people The story resolved itself in an ending that, although completely implausible, was entirely satisfying It was that kind of story a story where I loved the characters and wanted good things to happen to them The book is muchabout heart than head, but I just let it in, and let it be what it was, and let Bernice McFadden tell me her story the way she wanted to tell it I was richly rewarded.The pace is breathless I felt like Alice Through the Looking Glass getting pulled along by the Red Queen Huge shifts in the story can take place in a sentence, or in half a sentence Characters come and go and their stories are full of happenings and then they leave the stage It s not a minimal style so much as it is what I would call an intensely compressed style This marriage of a simple semantic style with a global, historic, epic story was new to me I thought it was a very effective way to tell this story, though, in which the history of the 20th century, in particular of African American social history, becomes the stage that these characters play across This is my first novel by McFadden and I m very glad to have manyleft to read I was over half way through this book before settling in, which makes it hard to rate The only reason I didn t quit the book is because several of my trusted reviewers gave it 4 and 5 stars I m glad I stuck with it because I really started to like it around page 195 and at page 278 I started to love it Problem with that is the book is only 342 pages Even before I started to really enjoy the read, I wasn t oblivious to all the wonderful historical tidbits sprinkled through each chapter As wi I was over half way through this book before settling in, which makes it hard to rate The only reason I didn t quit the book is because several of my trusted reviewers gave it 4 and 5 stars I m glad I stuck with it because I really started to like it around page 195 and at page 278 I started to love it Problem with that is the book is only 342 pages Even before I started to really enjoy the read, I wasn t oblivious to all the wonderful historical tidbits sprinkled through each chapter As with any historical fiction novel, what makes this one is the events that the author decided to incorporate Bernice touches on several topics including the Great Migration and migrants from the Caribbean to NYC, jazz history from the 1920s, a radio prank broadcast in NY in the 1930s , the changing face of Harlem and parts of New Jersey across decades, blacks in German concentration camps including camps in Namibia, and a 1967 Time Magazine cover highlighting ever present strife between law enforcement and the black community Unlike most historical fiction I ve read, I felt like I should do a quick Google search on every name that appeared in the text for fear of missing out on a buried gem By the time you get to the last page, it s almost like having looked at a timeline I d think she wrote a novel around a series of notable world and US events that she remembered from her past, only I know that many of the events occurred before her lifetime Bernice doesn t hone in on any one historical event but gives substantive leads that allow inquiring minds to find the documented events with no problem.Holding all of this goodness together is the story of Harlan, a young man turned jazz musician who struggles to get on the right path His reckless ways leave a trail of unintended consequences for many of the people he encounters When I visited Bernice s author website, the quote that appears under her image is, I write to breath life back into memory Well, Bernice, you definitely accomplished that Here s my video review Here s my video review Although The Book of Harlan is about the life and experiences of Harlan, there are many other vignettes throughout the book that focus on the lives of other characters I am very thankful for that because the other stories are what actually saved the overall story for me I did not like Harlan at all He was a selfish, misogynistic, womanizer who was careless with his words and actions His selfishness extended to his parents, friends, and lovers alike I did feel sorry for Harlan, because he su Although The Book of Harlan is about the life and experiences of Harlan, there are many other vignettes throughout the book that focus on the lives of other characters I am very thankful for that because the other stories are what actually saved the overall story for me I did not like Harlan at all He was a selfish, misogynistic, womanizer who was careless with his words and actions His selfishness extended to his parents, friends, and lovers alike I did feel sorry for Harlan, because he survived one of the world s greatest horrors, yet I still just couldn t bring myself to like him as a man He was spoiled by a mother who herself was pretty selfish, so part of the blame for Harlan s deficit in character lays firmly at the feet of his parents Harlan s father worked hard and loved his family, but he wasn t the strong person in their family Harlan s mother got her way in all things which was a problem from the beginning of their marriage straight through to Harlan s young adulthood.The Book of Harlan is written in very short chapters that carries the reader through the story extremely smoothly I m not sure if it tricked my mind into consuming the story faster than I normally would or what, but I felt like the story flew by in the best possible way I was engaged from beginning to end, even while I was busy not liking Harlan The many lives that orbited around Harlan were interesting and many times tragic I had a much easier time having empathy for them and hoping that theinevitable and realistic outcomes wouldn t befall them There is a plot twist for one of the secondary characters that I didn t see coming and it served as a gut punch when it was revealed Bravo, Ms McFadden That was a horrible but poignant moment in the story McFadden s writing style is wonderful and I am happy that I already own three of her other books I am looking forward to reading them soon If you aren t familiar with her work, I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Book Of Harlan You can find me atMonlatable Book Reviews Twitter MonlatReaderInstagram readermonicaFacebook Monica Reeds Goodreads Group The Black Bookcase I received this book as an early reviewer copy I am glad that I was given the opportunity to read it This is a remarkable story of a man who was born in 1917 lived through the Roaring 20 s, the Great Depression, World War II and the assassinations of John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King All the tumult that occurs in the world during this time is reflected in the life of Harlan Elliot Harlan was born in Macon Georgia and spent his early life there with his grandparents When Harlan s moth I received this book as an early reviewer copy I am glad that I was given the opportunity to read it This is a remarkable story of a man who was born in 1917 lived through the Roaring 20 s, the Great Depression, World War II and the assassinations of John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King All the tumult that occurs in the world during this time is reflected in the life of Harlan Elliot Harlan was born in Macon Georgia and spent his early life there with his grandparents When Harlan s mother and father finally came to claim him he was 14 years old They moved to Harlem At that time, in the 20 s, Harlem was exciting and very cool It was teeming with humanity and with music The black clubs attracted white clientele They came in droves to listen and to dance to the jazz, blues and swing music Harlan s parents are right in the midst of this and they have musicians and famous people dropping in to their house all the time Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie are frequent visitors and Harlan grows up with music in his heart and in his blood He and his best friend, trumpeter Lizard Robbins play in groups and bands all over Harlem The life is exciting, but all the pitfalls and dangers are there for these young men drugs, alcohol, women and fast living Their band is asked to go to Paris to play in a club there The time is the early spring of 1940 and Paris is teeming with life In a few short months though the Nazis invade Paris and start their reign of terror in the City of Light Both Harlan and Lizard did not get out of France in time and both are incarcerated in the Buchenwald concentration camp Harlan survives barely after 5 long years and is sent back home a broken man The rest of the book shows Harlan s struggle to return to the land of the living as he feels dead inside after the hardships he endured in Buchenwald There are manystruggles for Harlan as he tries to find himself and before he finds a measure of peace Ms McFadden states I write to breathe life back into memory , and she does that brilliantly here in The Book of Harlan A must read, especially for music lovers ABSOLUTELY STUNNING To say this is a must read is an understatement Prepare yourself for a magical journey as McFadden catapults you into the life of Harlan The short and impactful chapters kept me captivated as I devoured each page McFadden s writing style grabs you instantly and she never lets you go She exposes life and it s circumstances in a humanly raw magnitude that any reader can relate to You are transported back in time and deposited into monumental eras of history McFadden s ABSOLUTELY STUNNING To say this is a must read is an understatement Prepare yourself for a magical journey as McFadden catapults you into the life of Harlan The short and impactful chapters kept me captivated as I devoured each page McFadden s writing style grabs you instantly and she never lets you go She exposes life and it s circumstances in a humanly raw magnitude that any reader can relate to You are transported back in time and deposited into monumental eras of history McFadden s prose exquisitely glides the reader through the Great Migration of blacks from the south to the north, the Harlem Renaissance, WWII, the Holocaust, the turbulent Civil Rights Era, the assassinations of JFK and MLK, Jr., ending with the tumultuous 1970s a continuation of the 1960s The beauty and gift of McFadden s writing is that you felt like you were right there in the era I could hear the jazz bands, feel the sorrow pain of the prisoners in Buchenwald concentration camp and see the fires from the 60 s race riots To make a reader feel is a gift and McFadden handles this gift with grace I was invested in every character I cared about characters even after they had exited the story As I was approaching the final few chapters I literally closed the book and came back to it a week later I didn t want the story to end McFadden doesn t simply write she gets into your head and heart, stirs your spirit and leaves your soul wantingThis quote from the Washington Post beautifully describes the magical Book of Harlan This is a story about the triumph of the human spirit over bigotry, intolerance and cruelty, and at the center of The Book of Harlan is the restorative force that is music 4.5 stars I had to take off half a point because of the ending which, without giving away anything, is contrary to what actually happened to an important Nazi figure I don t care for revisionist history unless it s in a speculative work Although, in retrospect, it could have just been the protagonist s reality.Bernice McFadden has written an epic novel about African American life from the early 1900s to 1973 Apparently the novel is partly biographical, the main character being based on her 4.5 stars I had to take off half a point because of the ending which, without giving away anything, is contrary to what actually happened to an important Nazi figure I don t care for revisionist history unless it s in a speculative work Although, in retrospect, it could have just been the protagonist s reality.Bernice McFadden has written an epic novel about African American life from the early 1900s to 1973 Apparently the novel is partly biographical, the main character being based on her paternal grandfather It is not clear whether Harlan Elliott, the main character, based on real life Harold Isaac McFadden, was actually a prisoner in Buchenwald concentration camp or not, but that was the main reason I picked the book up because I, too, wrote a novel about blacks in Germany during the pre Holocaust Nazi regime This is a rarely told, unique story, so its inclusion just added intrigue to an intriguing character The imprisonment is just a small part of Harlan s life and the book expands the entire breadth of his existence, from before his birth to his ultimate coup de grace on the last page.I loved how Harlan and his family interacted with actual historic figures like jazz and blues musicians Louis Armstrong and Lucille Hegamin, Eugene Bullard, the first black fighter pilot, and John Smith, a cab driver whose arrest ignited a 5 day riot in Newark, New Jersey.It was also interesting to discover the concept of reverse racial passing where whites, mainly Jewish people, pretended to be black, especially if they were jazz musicians.I enjoyed the entire book as it was very readable, incorporated lots of historical context and had vivid characterization I could actually see these characters in my mind s eye I enjoy all of Bernice McFadden s books, but this one is one of my favorites 3.5 4 stars This was a quick read I found the author s style to be engaging and the story to be compelling Bernice McFadden tells a fictionalized version of her grandfather Harlan s life, from his parents meeting to Harlan s middle age The author describes Harlem in the years before WWII and Harlan and his family s life there, and how Harlan ended up in France, and most frightening, how he ended up in Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany Though the author doesn t get into detail of the 3.5 4 stars This was a quick read I found the author s style to be engaging and the story to be compelling Bernice McFadden tells a fictionalized version of her grandfather Harlan s life, from his parents meeting to Harlan s middle age The author describes Harlem in the years before WWII and Harlan and his family s life there, and how Harlan ended up in France, and most frightening, how he ended up in Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany Though the author doesn t get into detail of the years of horrors within the camp, she does describe the aftermath, the psychological damage Harlan suffered It s heartbreaking


About the Author: Bernice L. McFadden

BERNICE L McFADDEN is the author of ten critically acclaimed novels including Praise Song for the Butterflies Long listed for the 2019 Women s Prize in Fiction The Book of Harlan winner of a 2017 American Book Award and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction Sugar, Loving Donovan, Nowhere Is a Place, The Warmest December, Gathering of Waters a New York Times Editors Choice and one of the 100 Notable Books of 2012 and Glorious She is a four time Hurston Wright Legacy Award finalist, as well as the recipient of four awards from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association BCALA.McFadden has also penned five novels under the pseudonym Geneva Holliday She is a visiting assistant professor of creative writing at Tulane University in New Orleans She is at work on her sixteenth novel.


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