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Synopses & Reviews
From the acclaimed author of Pretty Little Dirty ("a first novel of complex truth and beauty"--San Francisco Chronicle), comes a glittering, gritty, and unflinching story of five families--black, white, and Indian--living along one block of Uptown, New Orleans.
It is the summer of 2004, and Orchid Street is changing. Newcomers Ariel May and her husband, Ed, relocated from Minnesota, are trying to make sense of the Southern city. From her front porch, Philomenia Beauregard de Bruges watches her new neighbors, the Guptas, as they move into one of the biggest homes. Across the way, Daniel Harris, aka Fearius, has just been released from juvenile detention. And Cerise Brown, a longtime resident now in her late seventies, hopes only to pass the rest of her days in peace.
But with one random accident, a scene of horror on Cerise's front lawn, the whole neighborhood converges on the sidewalk to help, to cast blame, and to offer hope. And as Hurricane Ivan churns his way toward the city, bringing a different series of challenges, these new relationships tighten, intertwining the families' paths for better and for worse.
Told in five achingly real voices, Babylon Rolling is the story of one year on Orchid Street, a place where lives clash and collide, and where the humid air is charged with constant wanting. Offering a bold understanding of human nature and the hidden prejudices we harbor, Babylon Rolling is a powerful portrait of racism in America and a city on the edge of transformation.
"Former contortionist and trapeze artist Boyden (Pretty Little Dirty) invokes an array of New Orleans voices on Uptown's Orchid Street. Daniel Harris, a smalltime teenage drug dealer who goes by 'Fearius,' hopes '[t]oday gone be his day' and the coming Hurricane Ivan will drive junkies into a stockpiling frenzy. Although his voice more often mimics street patois than evokes his character, language crystallizes with character in his white neighbor, the 57-year-old Philomenia Beauregard de Bruges, who seeks to divest her neighborhood of undesirables. Orchid Street's Minneapolis transplants, Ed Flank and Ariel May, meanwhile, struggle to maintain a family in an American Babylon that batters and woos with delights and disasters. Into the mix move the Guptas, an Indian family who have a difficult time breaking the ice. Though it could lose some extraneous passages, the book's nuanced story of people who 'choose to live... inside the big lasso of river' reveals a side of the Crescent City not often seen in fiction." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From the author of "Pretty Little Dirty" comes a gritty, unflinching story about the clash of race and culture in the intersecting lives of five families who call the same New Orleans street home.
About the Author
Amanda Boyden was born in Minnesota and raised in Chicago and St. Louis. Formerly a circus trapeze artist and contortionist, she earned her MFA from the University of New Orleans, where she now teaches writing. Her first novel, Pretty Little Dirty was published in 2006.
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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z