Stand the Storm: Book summary and reviews of Stand the Storm by Breena Clarke

Stand the Storm

A Novel

by Breena Clarke

Stand the Storm by Breena Clarke X
Stand the Storm by Breena Clarke
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Book Summary

Even though Sewing Annie Coats and her son, Gabriel, have managed to buy their freedom, their lives are still marked by constant struggle and sacrifice. Washington's Georgetown neighborhood, where the Coatses operate a tailor's shop and laundry, is supposed to be a "promised land" for former slaves but is effectively a frontier town, gritty and dangerous, with no laws protecting black people.

The remarkable emotional energy with which the Coatses wage their daily battles - as they negotiate with their former owner, as they assist escaped slaves en route to freedom, as they prepare for the encroaching war, and as they strive to love each other enough - is what propels Stand the Storm and makes the novel's tragic denouement so devastating.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Her knowledge of the period and the novel's dense, deliberate narrative create a poignant story about the intricacies of human bondage and its dissolution, built around a family's unshakable faith in one another." - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. Clarke's sensitivity and her lyrical, earthy narration bring a freshness to the somber subject matter." - Kirkus Reviews.

"I loved this book. I loved these people: The Coats family of Stand the Storm are quasi-free Negroes living in Georgetown just before, during and after the Civil War. Breena Clarke has written another stirring work of historical fiction that weaves the passionate, dramatic and uplifting story of the African American aspiration for true freedom into the great American tapestry." - The Washington Post.

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Reader Reviews

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Kimichelle Troup

Stand the Storm: A Response
This book continues to haunt me. The ever-present water theme from her first work "River Cross My Heart", continues in this piece. The language of the characters seems accurate and acceptable for the time period. I feel the time period and the cultural differences both spoken and unspoken that existed between the residents when I think of Georgetown, an area I've visited numerous times. It was so chocked full of historical facts that I feel compelled to further research the lives of blacks in this region. I know I will carry the characters with me for years. This book was simply poignant!
If you read "The Known World", by Edward P. Jones, this is an excellent follow-up to gain a greater understanding of where we've come from and why we've got to keep going. Keep reaching.

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Author Information

Breena Clarke Author Biography

Breena Clarke's debut novel, River, Cross My Heart, was an October 1999 Oprah Book Club selection. Ms. Clarke, a native of Washington, D.C., is the recipient of the 1999 award for fiction by the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and the Alex Award, given by the Young Adult Library Services Association. Stand The Storm is her second novel.

A graduate of Howard University, Breena Clarke is co-author with Glenda Dickerson of Remembering Aunt Jemima: A Menstrual Show, which is anthologized in Contemporary Plays by Women of Color and Colored Contradictions, An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Plays.

Her short fiction is included in Black Silk, A Collection of African American Erotica, and Street Lights: Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience. Her ...

... Full Biography
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