Sunday, January 3, 2010

Review- Smooth Stones, by Ann Fairbairn

I read this book several months ago, but had forgot to post the review. As I was gathering together all my year end book reads and getting together my recap, I realized I had not shared it with you.


FIVE SMOOTH STONES, Anne Fairbairn, ©1966, Chicago Review Press Edition 2009, $18.95US/$20.95CAN, pb, 756pp.










The story takes place in New Orleans in 1933 during the depression. Times are hard money is scarce and Jim Crow separates black from white with a natural tenuous acceptance. Li’l Joe Champlin and his wife Geneva have suffered hardship and have witnessed the plague of the negro men and women. The unwritten laws of white society are there to instill a sense of inferiority on one side and the pure supreme power of the social white elite on the other. Li’l Joe and Geneva know that justice is taken care of without trial and with discrimination and hatred. They suffered unbearable grief and pain when their son David was murdered by a white mob. Having left a son, they decide to raise him and vow to give him the best education possible. Li’l Joe is befriended by Bjarne Knudsen who becomes David’s mentor and surrogate father through high school, Harvard Law and then Oxford. David, a brilliant scholar falls in love with Sarah, a petite white artist he calls, “the smallest.” Although Sarah sees only love without a color barrier, David only sees the ugly future of racial hatred.
David is challenged again when he gives up a certain golden career in international law to help lead his people fight for civil rights and change.

Despite the overwhelming length of this historical fiction novel, you will be spellbound by every page read. David and his friends are characters to remember and reflect on for years. You will recognize them as friends by the author’s detailed shaping of their personalities. The picture of the life lived by an interracial couple is honestly portrayed and still has value and truth today. Five Smooth Stones has proven to be timeless, and a tremendous testament of the civil rights struggle.

Disclosure: Five Smooth Stones was an ARC received from Historical Novels Review.

8 comments:

Literary Feline said...

This sounds like a great book, Wisteria. I will have to add it to my wish list. Thanks, as always, for your insightful review.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

This sounds wonderful - except I hate to think about what happens to David! Fanstastic review!

wisteria said...

Literary....You are so kind. Thanks for stopping by.

Rhapsody..Thanks for your comment. You know I never like to give out too much of the story. It's that booktalk training I think.

Alice Teh said...

I like stories that will make you connect with the characters. Thanks for the review!

Sandra said...

I have such wonderful memories about this book. I'm thrilled to see it reviewed by a blogger. It was the first novel I purchased from the Book-of-the-Month Club when I was 16 and was finally making my own money. I loved it. That was 44 years ago and I still have the book. I heard some years later that there was a sequel but I never found it. I'm so glad you enjoyed it too. Thanks for reviewing it.

Lori said...

I first read this book sometime around 1970. It was one of my mother's favorite books. I recently picked it up at a yard sale & reread it. It is still a great read. I just loaned it to my young niece & will see what she has to say about it. Thanks for the review

wisteria said...

Lori...Thanks for your comments. It is interesting to me that it was one of your mom's favorite books.

Anonymous said...

I have purchased this book recently after having not received back the 4 others I loaned out to friends to read. I have read this book over 30 times throughout my life. It is my "all time" favorite book. My first read was when I was a teenager. I picked it up years later and got so much insight into me as a person struggling with relationships. I fall back into reading this book often when there is nothing out there worth reading at the moment when I am looking for a good book. I recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a "good read". The characters are so rich and believable. I remember in the late 70s getting together with a friend and trying to write a screen play and choosing actors to play the parts of each character in this book. It still is an awesome book, getting ready to start reading it again. Marla