Marking a dramatic new direction for Jones, a riveting tale set in the Post WWII South, narrated by a Black soldier who returns to Jim Crow and searches for a mythical ideal

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Product Code: 9414
ISBN: 9780807030035
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Pages: 192
Published Date: 08/20/2024
Availability: Not currently available.
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Price: $26.95

Set in the early 1950s, this latest novel from Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Gayl Jones follows the witty but perplexing army veteran Buddy Ray Guy as he embodies the fate of Black soldiers who return, not in glory, but into their Jim Crow communities.

A cook and tractor repairman, Buddy was known as Budweiser to his army pals because he’s a wise guy. But underneath that surface, he is a true self-educated intellectual and a classic seeker: looking for religion, looking for meaning, looking for love.

As he moves around the south, from his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, primarily, to his second home of Memphis, Tennessee, he recalls his love affairs in post-war France and encounters with a variety of colorful characters and mythical prototypes: circus barkers, topiary trimmers, landladies who provide shelter and plenty of advice for their all-Black clientele, proto feminists, and bigots. The lead among these characters is, of course, The Unicorn Woman, who exists, but mostly lives in Bud’s private mythology.

Jones offers a rich, intriguing exploration of Black (and Indigenous) people in a time and place of frustration, disappointment, and spiritual hope.

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Getting Carnivalized

“A surprising, welcome gift from one of America’s finest and least predictable writers.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Jones’s rich characterizations and wit are on display.” —Publishers Weekly

“Jones is skilled at balancing the observational with the intimate, and in Buddy we are given a fully realized character who epitomizes the frustrations, heartbreak, and humor of a generation of Black Americans.” —Booklist

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