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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Them

by

Them Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The author of the bestselling memoir Makes Me Wanna Holler presents a profound debut novel — in the tradition of Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities and Zadie Smith's White Teeth — that captures the dynamics of class and race in today's urban integrated communities.

Nathan McCall's novel, Them, tells a compelling story set in a downtown Atlanta neighborhood known for its main street, Auburn Avenue, which once was regarded as the "richest Negro street in the world."

The story centers around Barlowe Reed, a single, forty-something African American who rents a ramshackle house on Randolph Street, just a stone's throw from the historic birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Barlowe, who works as a printer, otherwise passes the time reading and hanging out with other men at the corner store. He shares his home and loner existence with a streetwise, twenty-something nephew who is struggling to get his troubled life back on track.

When Sean and Sandy Gilmore, a young white couple, move in next door, Barlowe and Sandy develop a reluctant, complex friendship as they hold probing — often frustrating — conversations over the backyard fence.

Members of both households, and their neighbors as well, try to go about their business, tending to their homes and jobs. However, fear and suspicion build — and clashes ensue — with each passing day, as more and more new whites move in and make changes and once familiar people and places disappear.

Using a blend of superbly developed characters in a story that captures the essence of this country's struggles with the unsettling realities of gentrification, McCall has produced a truly great American novel.

Review:

"The embattled characters who people McCall's trenchant, slyly humorous debut novel (following the 1994 memoir Makes Me Wanna Holler and a 1997 essay collection) can't escape gentrification, whether as victim or perpetrator. As he turns 40, Barlowe Reed, who is black, moves to buy the home he's long rented in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. His timing is bad: whites have taken note of the cheap, rehab-ready houses in the historically black neighborhood and, as Barlowe's elderly neighbor says to him, 'They comin.' Skyrocketing housing prices and the new neighbors' presumptuousness anger Barlowe, whose 20-something nephew is staying with him, and other longtime residents, who feel invaded and threatened. Battle lines are drawn, but when a white couple moves in next door to Barlowe, the results are surprising. Masterfully orchestrated and deeply disturbing illustrations of the depth of the racial divide play out behind the scrim of Barlowe's awkward attempts to have conversations in public with new white neighbor Sandy. McCall also beautifully weaves in the decades-long local struggle over King's legacy, including the moment when a candidate for King's church's open pulpit is rejected for 'linguistic lapses... unbefitting of the crisp doctoral eloquence of Martin Luther King.' McCall nails such details again and again, and the results, if less than hopeful, are poignant and grimly funny." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Depending on your perspective, gentrification restores and revitalizes city neighborhoods, or it pushes the urban poor — often African American — out of affordable housing and further to the fringes of society. The presence of white faces accompanied by the luminous glow of a Starbucks sign gives a new twist to the cry, 'There goes the neighborhood.'

Race, class and the displacement... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Nathan McCall's debut novel, Them, a mirror of our time and souls, is awesome and destined to become a contemporary classic." Eric Jerome Dickey, New York Times bestselling author

Review:

"What should we write about in our complex and changing world? And how? These are the questions that a writer constantly asks....Nathan McCall masterfully provides us with an answer. His novel could be taken as a model for modern writing." Maryse Condé, award-winning author of The Story of the Cannibal Woman

Review:

"Them is a character-driven, insightful novel that gives readers an entertaining and balanced glance at gentrification. Nathan McCall has done a brilliant job of showcasing his talent, while at the same time showing his compassion for human nature." Zane, New York Times bestselling author of Afterburn

Review:

"Complex and flawed characters weave a story that tests our own contradictory feelings about gentrification and racial and class bias. A compelling read." Erica Simone Turnipseed, author of A Love Noire, Hunger, and the upcoming My Name Is Zanzibar

Review:

"[A] novel that may draw comparisons with Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full, but manages, in its depiction of Atlanta's more downscale citizens, to go the master of New Journalism one better." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Imperfect as it is, Them is provocative, at times heartbreaking. And yet, against the odds, it offers a glimmer of hope." USA Today

Review:

"[A] sensitive look at the dynamics of gentrification." Booklist

Video

About the Author

Nathan McCall grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia. He studied journalism at Norfolk State University after serving three years in prison. He reported for the Virginian Pilot-Ledger Star and the Altanta Journal-Constitution before moving to The Washington Post in 1989.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781416549154
Author:
McCall, Nathan
Publisher:
Atria Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Printers
Subject:
Atlanta (ga.)
Subject:
African American men
Copyright:
Publication Date:
November 2007
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
339
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Them Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 339 pages Atria Books - English 9781416549154 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The embattled characters who people McCall's trenchant, slyly humorous debut novel (following the 1994 memoir Makes Me Wanna Holler and a 1997 essay collection) can't escape gentrification, whether as victim or perpetrator. As he turns 40, Barlowe Reed, who is black, moves to buy the home he's long rented in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. His timing is bad: whites have taken note of the cheap, rehab-ready houses in the historically black neighborhood and, as Barlowe's elderly neighbor says to him, 'They comin.' Skyrocketing housing prices and the new neighbors' presumptuousness anger Barlowe, whose 20-something nephew is staying with him, and other longtime residents, who feel invaded and threatened. Battle lines are drawn, but when a white couple moves in next door to Barlowe, the results are surprising. Masterfully orchestrated and deeply disturbing illustrations of the depth of the racial divide play out behind the scrim of Barlowe's awkward attempts to have conversations in public with new white neighbor Sandy. McCall also beautifully weaves in the decades-long local struggle over King's legacy, including the moment when a candidate for King's church's open pulpit is rejected for 'linguistic lapses... unbefitting of the crisp doctoral eloquence of Martin Luther King.' McCall nails such details again and again, and the results, if less than hopeful, are poignant and grimly funny." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Nathan McCall's debut novel, Them, a mirror of our time and souls, is awesome and destined to become a contemporary classic."
"Review" by , "What should we write about in our complex and changing world? And how? These are the questions that a writer constantly asks....Nathan McCall masterfully provides us with an answer. His novel could be taken as a model for modern writing."
"Review" by , "Them is a character-driven, insightful novel that gives readers an entertaining and balanced glance at gentrification. Nathan McCall has done a brilliant job of showcasing his talent, while at the same time showing his compassion for human nature."
"Review" by , "Complex and flawed characters weave a story that tests our own contradictory feelings about gentrification and racial and class bias. A compelling read."
"Review" by , "[A] novel that may draw comparisons with Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full, but manages, in its depiction of Atlanta's more downscale citizens, to go the master of New Journalism one better."
"Review" by , "Imperfect as it is, Them is provocative, at times heartbreaking. And yet, against the odds, it offers a glimmer of hope."
"Review" by , "[A] sensitive look at the dynamics of gentrification."
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