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River, Cross My Heart (1999)

par Breena Clarke

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The acclaimed bestseller--a selection of Oprah's Book Club--that brings vividly to life the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC, circa 1925, a community reeling from a young girl's tragic death. Five-year-old Clara Bynum is dead, drowned in the Potomac River in the shadow of a seemingly haunted rock outcropping known locally as the Three Sisters. River, Cross My Heart, which marks the debut of a wonderfully gifted new storyteller, weighs the effect of Clara's absence on the people she has left behind: her parents, Alice and Willie Bynum, torn between the old world of their rural North Carolina home and the new world of the city, to which they have moved in search of a better life for themselves and their children; the friends and relatives of the Bynum family in the Georgetown neighborhood they now call home; and, most especially, Clara's sister, ten-year-old Johnnie Mae, who must come to terms with the powerful and confused emotions stirred by her sister's death as she struggles to decide what kind of woman she will become. This highly accomplished first novel resonates with ideas, impassioned lyricism, and poignant historical detail as it captures an essential part of the African-American experience in our century.… (plus d'informations)
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Johnnie Mae Bynum was the older sister to Clara, and therefore was charged with her care when her mother was not available. A natural swimmer herself, Johnnie Mae can't keep away from water, and therefore enters the Potomac River one hot day. Clara watches at first, but then drops into the water. Unfortunately, she drowns.

Johnnie Mae expects hard questions. Why was she at the river when she had been told not to go there? What happened? But the story her mother hears, from those who were there, is that Johnnie Mae dove repeatedly, trying to save her little sister. Nobody holds her responsible for Clara's death, except herself.

Then Johnnie Mae befriends Pearl, a new girl in class. She takes her to be some kind of physical manifestation of her sister's ghost. The two become close, but Johnnie Mae does not tell Pearl how she sees her.

Just through living and watching and listening, Johnnie Mae confronts her fears about the death of Clara. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
Engagingly written winding narrative filled with colorful characters. It provides a vivid picture of Black Georgetown in the 1920s. And the child protagonist is just as charming and infuriating as child characters (and real life children) often are. ( )
  sanyamakadi | Aug 19, 2020 |
OBC, wishlist rabck from judygreeneyes; A coming of age story set in Georgetown during segregation. Johnnie is a black teen, who's sister drowns in the Potomac accidentally. The death affects Johnnie and her family. For a time Johnnie believes that Clara is present in the new girl in school as a "haint", but she eventually realizes that Pearl is just a girl, albeit different than the other girls. Good supporting characters, give you a flavor of what Georgetown was like back in the early 1900s. ( )
  nancynova | Jul 14, 2017 |
A good depiction of the black community of Georgetown during the 1920's although the plot line gets a little lost in the descriptions. ( )
  snash | Jun 6, 2016 |
This is the story of Johnnie Mae Bynum and her family, who live in Washington, D.C. in the mid-twenties. Ms. Clarke has drawn a rich portrait of life for coloured residents at that time and the story of how Johnnie Mae and others deal with the accidental death of her young sister is interesting, but like others have said, not excellent.

I read this book, which is an Oprah's Book Club selection, shortly after reading an analysis of "The Oprah Phenomenon". As was pointed out in that analysis, Oprah's message is one of individual responsibility, largely regardless of broader societal or systemic barriers to equality or success. While Ms. Clarke's shows a community with a whites-only swimming pool, segregated schools, and Blacks in service jobs, none of her characters complain or work to change the situation. Rather, they do the best they can in the situation in which they find themselves.....but with an eye on a better life for their children. ( )
  LynnB | Apr 23, 2013 |
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To my parents, Edna Higgins Payne Clarke and James Sheridan Clarke, who have twice given me a place to begin.
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Dangerous ideas come to life and spread like sparks on dry twigs.
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The acclaimed bestseller--a selection of Oprah's Book Club--that brings vividly to life the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC, circa 1925, a community reeling from a young girl's tragic death. Five-year-old Clara Bynum is dead, drowned in the Potomac River in the shadow of a seemingly haunted rock outcropping known locally as the Three Sisters. River, Cross My Heart, which marks the debut of a wonderfully gifted new storyteller, weighs the effect of Clara's absence on the people she has left behind: her parents, Alice and Willie Bynum, torn between the old world of their rural North Carolina home and the new world of the city, to which they have moved in search of a better life for themselves and their children; the friends and relatives of the Bynum family in the Georgetown neighborhood they now call home; and, most especially, Clara's sister, ten-year-old Johnnie Mae, who must come to terms with the powerful and confused emotions stirred by her sister's death as she struggles to decide what kind of woman she will become. This highly accomplished first novel resonates with ideas, impassioned lyricism, and poignant historical detail as it captures an essential part of the African-American experience in our century.

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Hachette Book Group

2 éditions de ce livre ont été publiées par Hachette Book Group.

Éditions: 0316899984, 0316898163

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