Red at the Bone: A Novel
“Red at the Bone” is a lyrical novel told from multiple points of view: grandparents, parents, and beloved granddaughter of an African-American family in Brooklyn. Each chapter weaves their personal histories together along with major events in America (the Tulsa massacre of 1921, 9/11). Iris, of the second generation, becomes pregnant at age fifteen and her decision to keep the baby leads to events that affect the entire family as they move out of their neighborhood and bond around caring for the new child. At the same time, Iris is determined to flee her life and go to college, as was always expected of her, and we learn what becomes of her daughter, Melody.
These are characters who come to life on the page, each with their unique voice, profoundly connected to family, born and bereft, living and dead. Woodson writes with such rhythms that you will continue to hear their voices echo after you have turned the last page of this slim, rich novel. I marked passage after passage of beautiful writing and am eager to read her other novels and her memoir.
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