Book Review: A Walk Through Darkness: A Novel

A Walk Through Darkness: A Novel
by David Anthony Durham



    Publication Date: Apr 30, 2002
    List Price: $23.95 (store prices may vary)
    Format: Hardcover
    Classification: Fiction
    Page Count: 304
    ISBN13: 9780385499255
    Imprint: Doubleday
    Publisher: Penguin Random House
    Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC


    Read Doubleday’s description of A Walk Through Darkness: A Novel

    Book Reviewed by Thumper


    Walk Through Darkness is magnificent! The writing prowess of David Anthony Durham is a promise fulfilled. Now, if, dear reader, your time is of the essence and you started reading this review to get my little ol' opinion of Walk Through Darkness, Durham's second novel, there it is. Read it and enjoy. Me? I got be here for a few more minutes, further expounding on my excitement, joy and rapture over this novel for another 450 words, or so. If you want to make a break for it, go right ahead, I'll catch you on the next review. *big smile *

    You're still here? Ain't got nuthin' better to do, huh? *eyebrow raised* *smile* OK, here we go’.

    Walk Through Darkness is the story of William, a mulatto slave, who runs away to be with Dover, the woman he loves and is carrying his unborn child. Morrison, a white man from Ireland, solicits William's slave master to capture William and bring him back to the plantation. Morrison has reasons of his own for tracking William down. Walk Through Darkness is a novel of journeys that are taken, not to run away, but to run towards ones heart's desire.

    Walk Through Darkness is a glorious novel! The world of slavery is brought to life in living color. Unlike many slave novels there is more at stake here than acts of violence and human degradation. Walk Through Darkness is a testament to the human spirit. The novel is a captivating, totally engaging adventure. William finds himself in one cliffhanger-type situation after the another, reminiscent of an old radio or movie serial. But the novel is in no way childlike or comedic. Durham prevents this by not allowing me to forget that the backdrop of the story is slavery and all of the ugliness that accompanies it. Durham interjects and maintains tension, and the senses of anxiousness and urgency which excellent drama inspires. I was truly sitting on the edge of my seat as I read the book.

    William is a ball of beauty, strength and confusion. Durham balanced William's slave mentality, with his youthful immaturity, naivet’, and dogged determination to find Dover -- all else be damned! I was drawn toward William -- it was as easy as falling off a cliff. Toward the end of the novel it dawned on me that Durham, skillfully added a shape and texture to William that rendered him a wholly complete character.

    Morrison was equally as complex. He was filled with guilt, afraid to love, afraid to dare, wish or dream, and angry at the fears that held him back from grasping what he wanted. I couldn't stand Morrison's go-along-to-get-along mentality, yet, at the same time, I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. While I don't agree with many of his actions, I could not fully hate him for Durham showed the other side of Morrison, which made his character and the story more than a simple case of black and white -- only different shades of gray. With Morrison, as with William, Durham didn't create characters but human beings.

    Walk Through Darkness brings the world of slavery to life in vivid, radiant hues. Durham brought it all together and wove it into a strong, majestic tapestry of a novel. Walk Through Darkness is one of the best books of the year and the second calling card left by one of the brightest authors of the new century.