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Gabriel's Storyby David Anthony Durham
Synopses & Reviews
Gabriel's Story recounts the adventures and trials of a pioneer family in the late 1870s. At the center of the story is Gabriel, a young man who moves reluctantly from the urban North with his mother and younger brother to join his stepfather, a homesteader in Kansas.
While his mother and brother accept the reduced circumstances of their new life, Gabriel looks upon the primitive one-room sod house, the meager crops, and the endless fields of grass with loathing. Filled with memories of his deceased father and the dreams they shared, Gabriel decides to run away and become a cowboy. However, his search for excitement brings trouble and danger as he encounters a host of unsavory characters while testing himself against this brutally unforgiving new landscape.
In a novel in which place itself is a character, David Anthony Curham re-creates the harshness of life on the plains and the desperate struggles of a family trying to eke out a meager existence while building a future for itself against seemingly insurmountable odds. His portrait of Gabriel masterfully captures a coming-of-age under extreme circumstances and presents a rare look at the role black cowboys played in settling the West.
Like Colson Whitehead, Durham is an astonishgly gifted African-American writer whose work crosses the boundaries of color by dealing in universal truths. His remarkable book not only opens up the hidden history of the West, where a fourth of all cowboys were black, but triumphs in its language and vision to reveal an exciting new talent.
"Artistically impressive and emotionally satisfying, a serious work that heads off in exhilarating directions." The New York Times Book Review
"Wise and beautifully written." USA Today
"Sweeps the reader up into a fascinating, Oz-like whirlwind of language." San Francisco Chronicle
When Gabriel Lynch moves with his mother and brother from a brownstone in Baltimore to a dirt-floor hovel on a homestead in Kansas, he is not pleased. He does not dislike his new stepfather, a former slave, but he has no desire to submit to a life of drudgery and toil on the untamed prairie. So he joins up with a motley crew headed for Texas only to be sucked into an ever-westward wandering replete with a mindless violence he can neither abet nor avoid-a terrifying trek he penitently fears may never allow for a safe return. David Anthony Durham is a genuine talent bent on devastating originality and Gabriels Story is as formidable a debut as we have witnessed.
About the Author
David Anthony Durham was born in 1969 to parents of Caribbean ancestry. He won the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Fiction Award in 1992 and received an MFA from the University of Maryland in 1996. He has lived and traveled widely throughout America and Europe. Durham, along with his wife and daughter, now divides his time between the United States and Scotland.
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