Bloodlines by Fred D'Aguiar

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At times evoking the style of Craig Raine and Paul Muldoon, this novel-in-verse is a stunning achievement with epic reach, by a masterful poet and storyteller. Using the intimate rhyme scheme of Byron’s great picaresque Don Juan, and the narrative devices of Pushkin’s enduring Eugene Onegin, D’Aguiar creates poetry dazzling in its inventiveness and wonder. Moving from the Civil War to the present day, Bloodlines follows the lives of five characters, each trying to escape the bonds of slavery. Therer are Tom and Stella, runaway slaves who are now part of the Underground Railroad; Faith, a black slave; her white lover Christy; and their son – the narrator – who knows neither of his parents because by the time he is born Faith has been sold back into slavery and dies in childbirth, and Christy has been indentured as a boxer in a traveling fair. Cursed by the thwarted love of his parents, the narrator is condemned to bear witness until the races become equal. He speaks to us of his quest for freedom.

About Fred D'Aguiar

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Fred D'Aguiar was born in London in 1960, and raised in Guyana and south-east London. Author of three novels and four books of poetry, he currently teaches English at the University of Miami.
Published August 17, 2000 by Chatto & Windus. 176 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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In some stretches, D’Aguiar manages to maintain an intensity that lets the reader forget the artifice of the whole being told in eight-line stanzas—most especially, perhaps, in the Civil War section (“history is shelves of human spines in the dark”)—but elsewhere the story slows to all but a stop...

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