Catfish Alley by Lynne Bryant

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A moving debut novel about female friendship, endurance, and hope in the South.

Roxanne Reeves defines her life by the committees she heads and the social status she cultivates. But she is keeping secrets that make her an outsider in her own town, always in search of acceptance. And when she is given a job none of the other white women want-researching the town's African-American history for a tour of local sites-she feels she can't say no.

Elderly Grace Clark, a retired black schoolteacher, reluctantly agrees to become Roxanne's guide. Grace takes Roxanne to Catfish Alley, whose undistinguished structures are nonetheless sacred places to the black community because of what happened there. As Roxanne listens to Grace's stories, and meets her friends, she begins to see differently. She is transported back to the past, especially to 1931, when a racist's hatred for Grace's brother leads to events that continue to change lives decades later. And as Roxanne gains an appreciation of the dreams, courage, and endurance of those she had so easily dismissed, her own life opens up in new and unexpected ways.


About Lynne Bryant

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Lynne Bryant grew up in Columbus, Mississippi, and has lived for many years in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she teaches nursing at the University of Colorado. Author website:
Published April 5, 2011 by NAL. 339 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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according to her “the War is over and the blacks got their rights, so why do we have to dwell on the past?” But she does want to impress Louisa Humboldt (who needs her mansion restored) and so Roxanne is willing to traipse around Clarksville with Grace as she is shown ramshackle testaments to the...

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Publishers Weekly

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In Bryant's debut, middle-aged Junior Leaguer Roxanne Reeves throws herself into directing Clarksville, Miss.'s 2002 Pilgrimage Tour of Antebellum Homes and develops, with more trepidation (and community resistance), an African-American Historical Tour.

Jan 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Catfish Alley

Southern Lit Review

When asked why so many writers come out of the South — especially Mississippi — Miss Welty answered: “I guess it’s because we have so much explaining to do.” I think that pretty much sums it up for me.

Jul 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Catfish Alley

Southern Lit Review

Far too often, novels set in the South settle for clichéd one-dimensional characters: vapid belles, ignorant or radical African-Americans, belligerent white males incapable of change.

Jul 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Catfish Alley

APOOO Bookclub

By Dera Williams • Jul 1st, 2011 • Category: Book Review 2011 • Email This Post • Print This Post The last two years has brought an abundance of stories from the South and I just cannot get enough of them.

Jul 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Catfish Alley

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