Synopses & Reviews
The second novel by the acclaimed author of Gabriel's Story
, Walk Through Darkness
is a story of history infused by myth, the intense narrative of an escaped slave trying to reunite with his pregnant wife.
Walk Through Darkness is the story of two very different men, each on a quest, both tied together by a history of remorse, jealousy, and a love that crosses the barriers of race during the time of slavery.
William, a fugitive slave from Maryland, is driven by two powerful needs to find his wife, Dover, who is pregnant with his child, and to live as a free man. He undertakes the treacherous journey north to restore meaning to his life, putting him at odds with the law and the sentiments of a nation. Morrison, who fled a painful youth in Scotland, had once hoped to establish a new life in America with his brother, but the unforeseen realities of immigrant life drove them apart.
As David Anthony Durham traces the physical and spiritual journeys of William, Dover, and Morrison he captures in rich, evocative detail the events and the landscape of America just before the turmoil of the Civil War. Interweaving tragedy and hardship with a profound understanding of enduring love and the desire for freedom. Walk Through Darkness is a complex story that is uniquely American, reflecting the tortured nature of the country's bloodlines and uncovering the deep bonds, and wounds, that exist across racial lines. This is a well-wrought work of "fiction in history" that follows two very different American men's paths to freedom, and places a difficult part of our nation's history under a magnifying glass to search for something beyond pain. In the end, it also presents a new possibilityfor healing for the characters, and for the larger racial divide that still haunts the United States.
"Powerfully written and emotionally devastating...Durham's writing is forceful and full of startling imagery." Publishers Weekly
"The story of Civil War-era America, magnificently told." The Washington Post
"David Anthony Durham has formed his own inclusive and original vision of American society, nourished by a nuanced understanding of history and an intuitive, almost spooky feel for the inner lives of its inhabitants....Walk Through Darkness remains a hugely ambitious book that leaves the reader wondering, and waiting for, what Durham will do next." The New York Times Book Review
"Rich, evocative....A complex story that is uniquely American." Philadelphia Tribune
"Complex, brilliantly written and deeply engaging, Walk Through Darkness shows a young novelist building on his formidable narrative gifts to produce a powerful work of historical fiction." BookPage
"Poetically graceful....Combines history and morality with a dynamic intelligence." The New York Times
"The scope of Walk Through Darkness is immeasurably grand, and its story involves us on a primal, irresistible level." Newsday
When he learns that his pregnant wife has been spirited off to a distant city, William responds as any man might—he drops everything to pursue her. But as a fugitive slave in Antebellum America, he must run a terrifying gauntlet, eluding the many who would re-enslave him while learning to trust the few who dare to aid him on his quest.
Among those hunting William is Morrison, a Scot who as a young man fled the miseries of his homeland only to discover even more brutal realities in the New World. Bearing many scars, including the loss of his beloved brother, Morrison tracks William for reasons of his own, a personal agenda rooted in tragic events that have haunted him for decades.
Following up on his award-winning debut, Gabriels Story, David Anthony Durham presents another riveting tale, a brilliantly drawn portrait of America before the Civil War, and a provocative meditation on racial identity, freedom and equality.
About the Author
David Anthony Durham earned an M.F.A from the University of Maryland. His first novel, Gabriel's Story, was published to wide acclaim in 2001. He has won several awards, including the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Fiction Award, a First Novel Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and a Legacy Award. His short fiction appears in Gumbo: An Anthology of African American Writing. Durham lives with his wife and two children in rural Scotland.