REVIEW º Sweetsmoke

CHARACTERS Ñ DOGSALONBRISTOL.CO.UK ´ David Fuller

SweetsmokeThe year is and the Civil War rages through the South On a Virginia tobacco plantation another kind of battle soon begins There Cassius Howard a skilled carpenter and slave risks everything punishment sale to a cotton plantation even his life to learn the truth concerning the murder of Emoline a freed black woman a woman who secretly taught hi. I was powerfully drawn into this world of Cassius a slave on a tobacco plantation in Virginia in 1862 Sweetsmoke He has survived a lot in this twisted world and though he is privileged to work as a carpenter instead of a field hand he is in danger of losing his humanity He remembered first hand the trauma of separation when his mother was sold He was raised by Mam Rosie and for a brief time her husband Darby as Darby was sold soon after He grew tall and made himself a secret promise that he would be different He would not love anything He would make his heart coldBut we’ve all sang that song at times you know the Simon and Garfunkle one “I Am a Rock” and that outlook really doesn’t sustain you Cassius has loved and he has lost He was married to Marriah and they had a baby That story ended badly from the hands of his owners Hoke and Ellen Howard which is all I should say In the narrative of his present he is alone but two forces are drawing him out of his shell One is his protective concerns for a new acuisition for the plantation uashee a teenaged beauty put to the harsh labor of the fields The other is a desire for revenge over the murder of Emoline a freed slave who nursed him back from his brutal punishments for rebellion after the loss of his familyuashee’s spirit moves Cassius to risky actions to save her from the lusts of Big Gus a driver for the plantation given power and privilege in exchange for keeping order among the slaves for the master Cassius works behind the scenes to get uashee taken into household service and in the process of foiling a competitor for the position makes a moral choice on the order of that portrayed in “Sophie’s Choice” In this darkness of his soul he begins to struggle again against the chains of his credo that in the words of Kris Kristofferson “If you ain’t got nothing you got nothing to lose” He and uashee begin to nurture a love that he feels bound to uash “If you don’t love then there’s one thing they can’t destroy“Emoline was the closest thing Cassius has had to motherly love and a beacon of what a life of freedom could be She makes a living through herbal medicine and fortune telling She secretly taught Cassius to read during his recovery and he comes to learn she secretly worked as a spy selling information to the Union relevant to the movements and plans of the Confederate Army Was this work the cause of her murder or was there a personal reason In pursuit of the answer and retribution Cassius risks his life many times and his uest drives him to explore the espionage network He is surprised to be treated with respect by the whites working for this cause He is stumped when one of them asks him what it’s like to be a slave as he doesn’t “know what it is not to be a slave” since his life isn’t his own Some of insights he begins to gain about the institute of slavery point to a paradox of how the white masters are in many ways enslaved by the system themselves When Hoke is laid low by illness his wife Ellen has to take charge Her illusions of virtue over running a big happy family clash with a sense of being trapped A strange and fleeting image entered Ellen’s mind that of a large cage in a small room The cage was filled with sla

David Fuller ´ 1 REVIEW

Er plantation and a formidable adversary in Hoke Howard the master he has always obeyed With subtlety and beauty Sweetsmoke captures the daily indignities and harrowing losses suffered by slaves the turmoil of a country waging countless wars within its own borders and the lives of those people fighting for identity for salvation and for freedo. This is a dry earth book filled with very fully realised characters and the sort of incidental details I love in a narrative the kind Mark Twain would deplore a drifting scrap of cobweb the precise way the wind shakes the trees suchlike thingsThe protagonist is an extremely emotionally repressed man which makes his reactions interesting but imparts a very detached feel to the narrative A plantation slave wandering Virginia in 1862 has some visceral sights to see but nothing really moves Cassius on a surface levelthings shift within him slowly and deeply which reflects admirable skill on the part of the writer but gives the reader little to connect to This lack of connection and surface emotion may be why the book strikes me as unsatisfyingdeep andor slow characters are great especially when they're as intelligent and silently angry as Cassius but what makes a great story is when that smouldering eventually flares to action I expected Cassius to someday get his uotation marks slaves in the book speak without these after all the steps he'd taken towards free thinking but instead the book meanders to a halt

REVIEW Sweetsmoke

REVIEW º Sweetsmoke é [Download] ➽ Sweetsmoke By David Fuller – Dogsalonbristol.co.uk The year is 1862 and the Civil War rages through the South On a Virginia tobacco plantation another kind of battle soon begins There Cassius Howard a skilled carpenter and slave risks everything punis The year is and the Civil War rages through the South On a ViM to read and once saved his life It is clear that no one cares about her death in the midst of a brutal and hellish war No one but Cassius who braves horrific dangers to escape the plantation and avenge her loss As Cassius seeks answers about Emoline's murder he finds an unexpected friend and ally in uashee a new woman brought over from anoth. I have to admit that this book's basic premise was strong enough to carry me through the story's few rough patches Set in the midst of the Civil War 1862 the story introduces us to Cassius a slave carpenter He enjoys a special status among the slaves at the titular Virginia tobacco plantation not only for his skill as a craftsman which makes him valuable than mere field hands but also because he was a childhood playmate of the plantation's master The death of his wife and child several years ago has made him rather insular and unlike some of the other higher ranking slaves he prefers to keep a low profile and not get caught up in the plantations' social jockeying and intriguesHowever when Emoline Justice a local free black woman herbalist and fortune teller is found murdered Cassius decides to cautiously pursue justice on her soul's behalf She was a kind of mothermentor figure to him having nursed him back from death's door and taught him to read and write What follows is a kind of blend of historical fiction about plantation life and a whodunit murder mystery For this to work the reader has to accept that Cassius' secret literacy enables him to travel rather freely than most slaves although not without peril allowing him to go into town and the surrounding countryside to pursue cluesThis story is pretty gripping since on top of the hunt for the killer there's the war lurking not too far away Underground Railroad operations in the area plus slavers spies and a full cast of realized characters And if that's not enough the book also does a very nice job of dramatizing the private life of slaves which themselves are fraught with peril as plots to curry favor abound allegiances shift and anyone might be sold off at any point Yes certain elements are somewhat idealized and sanitized but it's fiction and you either have to accept that or resign yourself to not really enjoying the book there are plenty of true narratives of slavery if that's your main interest This is an excellent mix of plot setting and character a book that makes you think about a certain era in a slightly different way by bringing it to life