4 Books Published by Blue Nile Press on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about Raisins in Milk by David Covin Raisins in Milk

by David Covin
Blue Nile Press (Jun 01, 2018)
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Listen to an Interview of David Covin Interviewed by Capital Public Radio, August 2, 2018

This is a coming of age novel of a Black girl, Ruth-Ann Weathering, born in Mandarin Florida in 1900. It traces events from 1913–1920.

In 1977, when Toni Morrison was an editor for Random House, she read an early version of Raisins in Milk. In a letter she wrote to the author, she said “… I loved so much of the writing… The prose, the description that is the omnipresent omniscient author’s, is splendid.” But the woman who would go on to win the Nobel Prize for literature also said, “The real problem… is that the characters seem thinner and more conventional than they are.”

The author has spent the intervening years revising the story, addressing Ms. Morrison’s concerns. The central question is whether he has met the challenge offered forty years ago by the country’s foremost writer. That will be for the reader to decide. This can definitely be said. From the first page of Raisins in Milk the reader enters an unknown world. No living human being has a personal memory of Jacksonville, Florida in 1913. Yet that time and place had an eradicable impact on life in the United States that continues today, one hundred and eighteen years later. Once you turn the first page and enter the world of Ruth-Ann Weathering, you will understand why.

“The opening sequence of this lovely book had me gripping the arms of my reading chair as the main character, Ruth-Ann runs for her life, chased by a wild, mean-spirited, half-mad horse. It’s a riveting sequence. There’s another, just as gripping, but I don’t want to give too much away! Raisins captures to great effect the day-to-day lives of African Americans in Florida, just after the dawn of the 20th century. The cumulative effect of “this life” (these lives) is that no matter what one’s accomplishments, no matter what one’s strivings and dreams, no matter what one may have done to protect one’s self and one’s family from harm, there was no protection for Black people at all. The violence of racism was so crazed, based in a jealousy so pervasive it could barely be measured. It’s a heartbreaker, but it’s our history. In the midst of this there is love.”Denise Nicholas, actor, playwright, novelist: author of critically acclaimed, Freshwater Road

Book Review

Click for more detail about For the Sake of Soul by Frederick K. Foote, Jr. For the Sake of Soul

by Frederick K. Foote, Jr.
Blue Nile Press (Oct 23, 2015)
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Frederick Foote’s stories chart the geography of the African-American experience of his generation, tracing the uprootedness of the Black migration and the groundedness of characters who stake their claims. His protagonists are buffeted by the currents of Jim Crow, war, and discrimination, but these men and women retain their personhood and amazingly, thankfully, their sense of humor.

The story “Guest in Black and White” frames the book and calls upon the ancestors to be with us as we read. Like a chant to the Yoruba deity, Elegua, the story opens the door to what is to come, reminding us of what has been at stake for Black men, and allowing the wisdom of the grandfathers to guide us.

William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County has nothing on Fred Foote’s Sumter, South Carolina. This is the deep background setting for the Andrew stories in this collection. It is a place where mules and men kick back when beaten. Sumter is the place of secrets and the wellspring of both pain and family connectedness. Travel there to see the same story through multiple perspectives, one of Frederick’s authorial obsessions, to discover that the truth is elusive and situated in our faulty and self-protective memories.

Next, we move forward to a cluster of enlistment stories, as young men, full of the wildness of their age, are lured by the promise of the military to travel, to escape, and to participate in the great American tableau of war at home and abroad. When our characters Teofilo and his buddies are off duty in North Philly, they jostle for a place to experience manhood and friendship. And when they must fight, they do so in all the theatres of combat of Frederick s times: Korea, Vietnam, and the homefront. These are stories of bloodletting, standoffs, and uneasy homecomings. The world of work for the young, gifted, and Black generation holds out terrible irony. Stories like The Appointment written with the gimlet eye of someone who’s been there take us into the landscape of affirmative action, where opportunities come laced with land mines. These are stories of powerful men and women, sexual appetites, the edge of violence, and the cool control of brinkmanship. We can trace the roots of these human drives back into the mythic pasts of the characters and pull the thread through to our contemporary moment.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Summer of my Fifteenth Year by Geri Spencer Hunter The Summer of my Fifteenth Year

by Geri Spencer Hunter
Blue Nile Press (Jun 05, 2015)
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Geri Spencer Hunter is a formidable storyteller who has crafted a genuine masterpiece with The Summer of My Fifteenth Year. When 86-year old Etta Mae Netter sits down to record her personal history, she releases a torrent of closely held family secrets that threaten to engulf her even after 71-years. Geri Hunter deftly draws us into the lives of the Netters, a well-to-do Black family living what appears to be an idyllic life in a small Iowa town during the tough times of the late 1930’s. She takes us back to that summer when fifteen-year-old Etta and the rest of her family awaited the return from college of their golden boy, Charleston Epstein Netter. With clean, clear prose, and unflinching gaze, Hunter brilliantly explores and ultimately exposes the secret born of that summer, the kind of secret that destroy girls but leave the men imposing them untouched. A secret that brings a whole family to its knees. A secret that nearly destroyed Etta, but left Charleston unscathed. Seventy-one-years later the pain that never left is finally exorcised by the telling. —Terris McMahan Grimes, author of Smelling Herself: A Novel

Book Review

Click for more detail about Prodigal by David Covin Prodigal

by David Covin
Blue Nile Press (Jun 06, 2014)
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Prodigal is set in the mean street’s of Chicago’s Soouthside and the gritty streets of an urban Brazilian favela. It is a moving historical allegory of African prodigals stranded in North and South America by the Transatlantic slave trade, and an inspiring chronicle of moral grown and a homeward trajectory of the prodigal axe’ of Brazilian Candomble’.

Book Review

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