A Life for a Life by Ernest Hill
A Novel

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From the acclaimed author of "Satisfied with Nothin'" comes a searing and unsparing story of the unlikely bond between an African-American father and the teenager who killed his son, a tale of violent self-destruction reclaimed by the inexhaustible power of love and forgiveness. "A Life for a Life," Ernest Hill explores the volatile emotional terrain of a black youth's coming of age in rural Louisiana. When a local drug dealer threatens to kill D'Ray Reid's kid brother unless he comes up with $100 within an hour, D'Ray decides to hold up a convenience store in a nearby town. The young clerk at the cash register attempts to foil the robbery and in the scuffle D'Ray shoots and kills him. What follows is an absorbing drama in which D'Ray becomes a fugitive with a lengthening risumi of violent crime. Yet it is ultimately in the person of Henry Earl, the slain boy's father, that D'Ray sees his future. When he is forced to reckon with his destruction of the boy's family, D'Ray finds that Henry Earl is his only advocate and the person who will ask of him what no one, not even his family, had ever asked before.

"A Life for a Life" witnesses the resuscitation of two lives by love, forgiveness, and gratitude. The relationship that develops between D'Ray Reid and Henry Earl is nothing short of miraculous: Their discovery of humanity and harmony in the most unlikely place will reverberate in readers' memories.


About Ernest Hill

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Ernest Hill was born in Oak Grove, Louisiana. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his master's degree from Cornell University. He divides his time between Baton Rouge, where he is writer in residence at Southern University, and Los Angeles, where he is a Dorothy Danforth Compton doctoral fellow in history at UCLA. He is the author of Satisfied with Nothin' and is currently at work on his third novel.
Published August 18, 1998 by Simon & Schuster. 240 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Ten-year-old Little Man was inadvertently seduced into taking crack by the sister of drug dealer Kojak, who now has Little Man bound to a chair and will kill him unless Little Man’s brother, D—Ray Reid, 15, comes up with a hundred bucks to pay for Little Man’s crack.

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Publishers Weekly

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D'Ray Reid, the hero of this initially suspenseful but ultimately frustrating coming-of-age novel, undergoes a miraculous transformation and emerges in the end a new man after some crime-filled years.

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