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.