“Red at the Bone” reads so smoothly you’ll want to imbibe it in a single swallow.
Pace yourself, dear reader. Savour the cadence and poetry of Jacqueline Woodson’s words. Admire the extraordinary artistry and economy of her sentences, the construction of her paragraphs, the architecture of the novel as a whole; restrained but replete. Yes, “Red at the Bone” can be read in a couple of hours, but it demands and deserves more.
It opens on 31 May 2001, at sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming-of-age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Through the voices of five characters spanning three generations of her family, and slicing backward and forward in time, from the 1921 Tulsa Massacre to 9/11, “Red at the Bone” sketches the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they arrived at this moment, and what their future holds. Her mother, Iris, gave birth too young, and fled across the country for an education, leaving Melody in the care of her father, Aubrey, who feels untethered as he witnesses his daughter’s transition into adulthood.
A wrenching, beautiful book, whose graceful sparseness still allows space for intense examinations of parenthood, race and family.
Number Of Pages: 208
Available: 27th January 2021