Read The Promise of Rest by Reynolds Price Free Online
Book Title: The Promise of Rest|
The author of the book: Reynolds Price
Edition: Scribner Book Company
Date of issue: December 31st 1995
ISBN 13: 9780684801490
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 882 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.7
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Ever read some writers and wonder why you didn't discover their pleasures sooner? Maybe I wasn't ready to appreciate Price until the appropriate time in my life he would resonate and connect with significant meaning. This one is a keeper, a final volume in a trilogy begun nearly forty years ago, later collected in omnibus as "A Great Circle".
Extremely moving account of a family coming to terms with a loved one's death to AIDS. Price belongs to the grand tradition of Southern writers exploring the weight of Civil War history on the South, decimating a culture where racism and miscegenation thrived, fusing black and white families into a distinctly American melting pot seeking present day reparation for ancestral wrongs - all hidden behind gentile formality. Price adds a new dimension to Southern letters, depicting sexuality's primordial nature as a consummate or destructive dynamo, burning and tempering those seeking companionship. Gay and straight labels are unnecessary and limiting. Love, sexuality's ideal, transforms those willingly risking to receive and give it without reservation; a generational tie binding race and sex together in unexpected, redemptive ways.
Story told from point of view of Hutchins Mayfield, English professor and famous poet. whose gay thirty-three year old son, Wade, is dying of AIDS well before his prime. Wade's wish is to have his remains cremated and ashes scattered on a makeshift stream created by his one hundred year old kinsman, Grainger, a tough, no-nonsense survivor and bearer of Mayfield family history. Hutchins, usually well-versed in teaching and writing poetry, is at a loss for words while grieving over his dying son and seeing his estranged wife - who left him years earlier - now coming back in a bittersweet reunion to see her son make final pilgrimage to the great beyond, of which Price writes a beatific scene, not out of place, given the novel's realism. Hutchins has had his share of loss before; in a burnt-out love affair with a man in his youth and in a broken marriage and is anxious his dying son may not forgive his life of emotionally distancing himself from family and former lovers. He's a poet with dried-up inspiration, unable to siphon rhymes and meter from an emotional reservoir drained by a life of disappointment and regrets. Wade faces death with dignity, grace, and eyes wide open - despite being blind - offering Hutchins bittersweet absolution for past grievances, unapologetic for his sexuality, leaving a surprising legacy that captures, in full circle, a multi-generation of two families - one black, the other white - gaining solace that their lives will carry on with all the pain, thwarted love, and forbearance their ancestors had.
No easy read for anyone presently grieving; its sadness is very palpable. However, Price offers consolation in the hope that familial love need never be in vain, especially when freely offered without conditions and received without self-abnegation.
Price is true master of the novel when he ends this book symbolically full circle in a simple heirloom and in Hutchins finally finding words once more to write a poem in memory of his dead son. Price, himself an English professor and poet, must have been familiar enough with John Donne to observe that "Death be not proud ... ."
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Read information about the authorReynolds Price was born in Macon, North Carolina in 1933. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University. He taught at Duke since 1958 and was James B. Duke Professor of English.
His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price was a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.
Photo courtesy of Reynolds Price's author page on Amazon.com
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