Rattlebone by Maxine Clair

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A vivid recreation of the black Midwest of the 1950s focuses on the fictional community of Rattlebone, north of Kansas City, introducing such unforgettable characters as the new schoolteacher, October Brown, and young but wise Irene Wilson. A first novel.

About Maxine Clair

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Teaches writing at George Washington University. She is the author of Rattlebone, which won the Chicago Tribune's 1994 Heartland Prize for fiction, the American Library Association's Black Caucus Award, and the Friends of American Literature Award. She lives in Maryland.
Published June 1, 1994 by Farrar Straus & Giroux (T). 213 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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``Secret Love'' explains why Irene's friend Wanda abruptly stops allowing Irene to read her own diary after her retarded brother Puddin'--who likes to eat mayonnaise out of a jar with his hand--is taken away.

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Publishers Weekly

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From the girl's suspicions about the spiritual ambitions of an itinerant white nun through various friendships and alliances, the accidental death of her first crush, her own near-death experience and, finally, her high school graduation, Reenie's lofty childhood motto, ``I am in this world, but ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Clair's debut, a collection of 11 short stories, centers around the coming-of-age of a young African American girl growing up on the outskirs of 1950s Kansas City.

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Entertainment Weekly

Maxine Clair's fiction debut Rattlebone leaps and hums like fine gospel harmony, heralding the arrival of a distinctive new literary voice.

Jul 22 1994 | Read Full Review of Rattlebone

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