SONG OF THE SHANK
A contemporary American masterpiece about music, race, an unforgettable man, and an unreal America during the Civil War era.
As the summer of 1866 ends, seventeen-year-old Tom and his young guardian Eliza Bethune prepare to leave the sanctuary of their country cottage for a fashionable city apartment. There, they are presented with the challenges of the wider world, with its conflicting demands on their relationship and on Tom’s talents. The two navigate his journey to fame, beset by variously sinister characters all of whom are profoundly affected by him, placing their hopes in him, projecting their beliefs and desires on his skin, and staking their futures in his flesh. Through all this, a note of possibility emerges as Tom finds his own voice in his music.
Jeffery Renard Allen is the author of five books including the novels SONG OF THE SHANK and RAILS UNDER MY BACK, which won the Chicago Tribune‘s Heartland Prize for Fiction; the short story collection HOLDING PATTERN, which received The Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence; and two collections of poetry. A Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia, Allen is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a grant in Innovative Literature from the Creative Capital Foundation, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
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