American History Albert French Billy

ISBN 13: 9780140179088

Billy

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9780140179088: Billy

Albert French lights up the monstrous face of American racism in this harrowing tale of ten-year-old Billy Lee Turner, who is convicted and executed for murdering a white girl in Banes County, Mississippi, in 1937. Constructed in a series of powerfully lean vignettes, Billy is a tour de force of dramatic compression, focusing on how this outrageous event affects an entire community. The high-spirited Billy, his mysterious and passionate mother, Cinder, and his friend Gumpy are realized with depth and authority. Told in classic, unrelieved terms yet with remarkable compassion and restraint, their story is an unsentimental and ultimately heart-rending vision of racial injustice.

“A work of art . . . Billy never lets up, not for a minute . . . The images rush straight to your brain. . . . Magnificient.”—Bill McKibben, New York Daily News

“Althought I only knew Billy Lee Turner for an all too brief 214 pages, I will mourn his death for the rest of my life. That’s how powerfully and dramatically written this book is.”—Claude Brown, author of Manchild in the Promised Land

Billy’s strength is not strictly as a novel; it lives as theater. It is a folk opera that . . . moves with unfaltering pace to its shattering climax.”—New York Newsday

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About the Author:

Albert French served four years in the Marines as an infantryman. After the service, he taught himself photography and worked as a medical photographer and staff journalist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In 1981 he created Pittsburgh Preview Magazine, which he published until 1988. He has written several novels, including Holly, I Can't Wait on God and Cinder.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Death, race, and injustice in the Deep South--in a deeply felt but crude first novel about the accidental death of a white girl that leads to the judicial murder of the black boy who killed her. The small town of Banes, Mississippi, 1937. White folks live in town, black folks live in the Patch. Proudest of the latter is Cinder, who has raised her son Billy Lee Turner on her own; her man Otis left for Chicago before Billy was born. But ten-year-old Billy has inherited Otis's ``wild-dog temper'' and carries a knife. Swimming in a pond in the woods with his friend Gumpy, the boys are attacked and overpowered by two older white girls, Lori and Jenny. Struggling to escape, Billy stabs Lori, who dies soon after. White vigilantes storm through the Patch and burn down a shack, despite the boys' speedy arrest. Even though mean Sheriff Tom concedes that ``that boy ain't got the slightest idea what he done,'' Billy is charged with first-degree murder, tried as an adult, sentenced to death and electrocuted. All of this is told with melodramatic frenzy (Cinder's eyes ``glowed the color of her burning soul'') and in a dialect so thick the characters sink under its weight. The all-seeing narrative eye roves so restlessly over a host of black and white characters that it never fixes on one, even Billy, for long--while minor but important characters, like Cinder's white father, get lost in the shuffle. Aside from a few moments of pathos when Billy is on Death Row, French's novel stays at the level of a lurid comic-strip. It is always distressing when a writer works at a harrowing portrayal of evil and misses by a country mile. For a fine treatment of similar material, read Ernest Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying (p. 167). -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Albert French lights up the monstrous face of American racism in this harrowing tale of ten-year-old Billy Lee Turner, who is convicted of and executed for murdering a white girl in Banes County, Mississippi in 1937. Billy is about the deaths of two children, one girl, one boy, the girl s death an accident, the boy s a murder perpetrated by the state. Though the events Billy records occur during the 1930s in a small Mississippi town, the range of characters, emotions, and social forces, and the inexorable march to doom of a ten-year-old boy and the society that dooms him, catapult the story far beyond a specific time and location. Narrated by an anonymous observer in the rich accents of the region, constructed in a series of powerfully lean vignettes, Billy imparts an intensity that is nearly unbearable. It is a tour de force of dramatic compression. Albert French evokes with cinematic vividness the picking fields and town streets; the heat, the dust, the unrelenting sun, the poverty of 1930s Mississippi. High-spirited Billy; his mysterious and passionate mother, Cinder; his friend, Gumpy; and other characters black and white are realized with depth and authority. Told in classic, unrelieved terms yet with remarkable compassion and restraint, their story is an unsentimental and ultimately heart-rending vision of racial injustice. Billy is, quite simply, one of the most powerfully affecting novels to come along in years. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780140179088

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Albert French lights up the monstrous face of American racism in this harrowing tale of ten-year-old Billy Lee Turner, who is convicted of and executed for murdering a white girl in Banes County, Mississippi in 1937. Billy is about the deaths of two children, one girl, one boy, the girl s death an accident, the boy s a murder perpetrated by the state. Though the events Billy records occur during the 1930s in a small Mississippi town, the range of characters, emotions, and social forces, and the inexorable march to doom of a ten-year-old boy and the society that dooms him, catapult the story far beyond a specific time and location. Narrated by an anonymous observer in the rich accents of the region, constructed in a series of powerfully lean vignettes, Billy imparts an intensity that is nearly unbearable. It is a tour de force of dramatic compression. Albert French evokes with cinematic vividness the picking fields and town streets; the heat, the dust, the unrelenting sun, the poverty of 1930s Mississippi. High-spirited Billy; his mysterious and passionate mother, Cinder; his friend, Gumpy; and other characters black and white are realized with depth and authority. Told in classic, unrelieved terms yet with remarkable compassion and restraint, their story is an unsentimental and ultimately heart-rending vision of racial injustice. Billy is, quite simply, one of the most powerfully affecting novels to come along in years. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780140179088

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Albert French lights up the monstrous face of American racism in this harrowing tale of ten-year-old Billy Lee Turner, who is convicted of and executed for murdering a white girl in Banes County, Mississippi in 1937. Billy is about the deaths of two children, one girl, one boy, the girl s death an accident, the boy s a murder perpetrated by the state. Though the events Billy records occur during the 1930s in a small Mississippi town, the range of characters, emotions, and social forces, and the inexorable march to doom of a ten-year-old boy and the society that dooms him, catapult the story far beyond a specific time and location. Narrated by an anonymous observer in the rich accents of the region, constructed in a series of powerfully lean vignettes, Billy imparts an intensity that is nearly unbearable. It is a tour de force of dramatic compression. Albert French evokes with cinematic vividness the picking fields and town streets; the heat, the dust, the unrelenting sun, the poverty of 1930s Mississippi. High-spirited Billy; his mysterious and passionate mother, Cinder; his friend, Gumpy; and other characters black and white are realized with depth and authority. Told in classic, unrelieved terms yet with remarkable compassion and restraint, their story is an unsentimental and ultimately heart-rending vision of racial injustice. Billy is, quite simply, one of the most powerfully affecting novels to come along in years. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780140179088

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