WNBA-Charlotte’s Book Club, featuring Great Group Reads picks from National Reading Group Month

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NEXT MEETING APRIL 1 — 7 PM at Panera near SouthPark!!

We have a terrific book club in our chapter!  

As our reading guide, we’re taking the list of 2013 Great Group Reads titles recommended for book clubs during WNBA’s National Reading Group Month.   

9780802120663 WASH

 Our book for April is…   

WASH 
by Margaret Wrinkle
Atlantic Monthly Press

“A marvel. By turns grim and lyrical, heart-wrenching and hopeful.” 
People (four stars, People Pick)

“In this deeply researched, deeply felt debut novel, documentarian Wrinkle aims a sure pen at a crucial moment following America’s War of Independence. . . . The novel well evokes the tragedy not only of [its] lovers’ untenable positions, but also that of their master and his fragile country.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A moving and heart-rending novel.” —Kirkus Reviews

Margaret Wrinkle is a writer, filmmaker, and visual artist born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama.  A seventh-generation Southerner, she always knew she had slaveholding ancestors.  But she was shocked when she heard a family rumor that one of them may have engaged in the breeding of enslaved people.  Determined to know more, she set out to discover the truth about this long-buried historical practice.  Her journey led to the writing of her debut novel, WASH (Atlantic Monthly Press; February 2012), a haunting and intimate story of owner and owned.

Despite extensive research, Wrinkle was never able to find any proof of the veracity of the family rumor.  And slave breeding is such a controversial topic that finding sources willing to even mention the possibility proved difficult.  Facing a dearth of historical evidence, her imagination took over, and she found herself coming again and again to the question: what if it had actually happened? What would that mean for all involved? 

In WASH, Wrinkle begins with Richardson, a conflicted slaveholding patriarch and Revolutionary War veteran struggling to stay afloat in a world he no longer understands.  Then she found an interview with one survivor of slavery who described a man forced to work as what was then called “a traveling negro.”  As she pictures this tall, isolated, and difficult man being taken to a distant plantation where, nine months later, many babies will be born, the character of Wash emerges as Richardson’s breeding sire.  The first member of his family born into slavery, Wash gets drawn into a power struggle with Richardson and must fight to hold onto the West African spiritual traditions inherited from his shamanic mother.  Despair and disease lead him to a potent enslaved healer named Pallas, and their delicate love story unfolds against this tumultuous backdrop.

By turns harrowing and redemptive, this boundary-crossing novel of American slavery carries the reader from the heart of whiteness into the center of ancestral African spirituality and back again until these two contrasting cultures shimmer together.  Questioning all differences of blood and tradition, erasing even the line between the living and the dead, WASH offers new insights into our continuing racial dilemmas.  

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Our meetings take place on the first Tuesday of each month, 7 PM, at the Panera on Fairview near SouthPark — see dates below. We have chosen books to take us through to next October when there will be a new Great Group Reads list released. 

 

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 Here’s what we are reading in 2013-2014:

November 5:  The Round House by Louise Erdrich (Harper Perennial)

December 3:  Margot by Jillian Cantor (Riverhead Books)

NO January meeting

February 4:  Big Brother by Lionel Shriver (Harper)

March 4:  How It All Began by Penelope Lively (Penguin Books)

April 1:  Wash by Margaret Wrinkle (Atlantic Monthly Press)

May 6:  A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (Hogarth)

June 3:  The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell (Amy Einhorn Books)

NO July meeting

August 5:  Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Reagan Arthur Books)

September 2:  Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (Atria Books)

October 7:  The House Girl by Tara Conklin (William Morrow)

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