I’m beginning 2007 with a correction of a 2006 mistake. I omitted two important books from my ten best list, which will now number fourteen. Why they slipped my mind, who knows. Maybe I’ll actually keep a list this year rather than trying to pull things from the shadow of my memory, shadows which are deepening by the day. Probably not, though. If I did I might have a twenty-book list. Anyhow, the neglected authors and books are [drum rollllllllllllll]
I already did a whole blog entry on this so I won’t get extensive. It’s an important and fascinating work on black culture in the twentieth century through the eyes of a huge cross section of black people. Well-written and documented by an extremely careful and keen observer.
Miracle at St. Anna, by James McBride
The Color of Water, his acclaimed memoir, is McBride‘s better known work, and i was in fact looking for that in the library when I ran across Miracle and settled for that when Water was not available. I’ll get to that in ’07, but this semi-historical based on a WWII incident involving a black platoon trapped behind enemy lines in an Italian village lifted me up and took me away. It’s simultaneously fantastical (the opening line is something like this: “Twain would never forget the first time he became invisible.”) and realistic. The encounters between the troops and their officers as well as their interactions with the villagers are as muddy and bloody as it gets. Yet, at the heart of the title and of McBride’s treatment of the story, is a miracle.