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Read/Download Like Trees, Walking (eBook) free pdf

Read/Download Like Trees, Walking (eBook) free pdf

Read online or Download Like Trees, Walking (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper)
by Ravi Howard


Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060529604
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/22/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,374,372
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.61(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Overview

 

Based on the true story of a modern-day lynching in America, Ravi Howard's widely acclaimed debut novel exposes one of the most tragic chapters in the history of the American South.

On the morning of March 21, 1981, in Mobile, Alabama, nineteen-year-old Michael Donald was found dead, his body badly beaten and hanging from a tree on Herndon Avenue. Brothers Paul and Roy Deacon of the Deacon Memorial Funeral Home are called upon to bury their close friend and classmate, and the experience will leave them forever changed. Along with other residents of their hometown, the Deacon brothers must struggle to understand the circumstances surrounding Donald's murder—the city's first lynching in more than sixty years and a gruesome reminder of racial inequalities in the New South.

 

Editorial Reviews

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“The verdict: A breathtaking debut.”

Related Subjects

  • ">Brothers - Fiction
  • ">Race Relations - Fiction

    Read an Excerpt

     

    Like Trees, Walking

    A Novel
    By Ravi Howard

    HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

    Copyright © 2007 Ravi Howard
    All right reserved.

    ISBN: 9780060529598

    Chapter One

    Early Saturday Morning | March 21, 1981

    Paul had always been a creature of the night. We both were. When we were children, our nocturnal habits were permissible only during Jubilees. We looked forward to staying up past midnight, and as the morning hours grew in number we watched the dim light collect itself at the edges of the sky. It was an innocent intoxication—that sleepless fatigue that comes while waiting for the tide. A strange disorientation took hold when I no longer had a night's sleep to separate one day from another.

    We weren't the only ones awake. The cities were quiet on both sides, but the world along the water was a place of constant motion. Twelve hundred freighters passed through the narrow shipping channel every year on the way to the state docks up the Mobile River. The shipyards and factories, the gantries and cranes, the tall stacks that smoked up the sky day and night—these were our skyscrapers.

    Even in those early hours, the lights at Gulf Land Paper were always burning, Easter and Christmas included. Even when I wasn't close enough to see the mill, sometimes I could smell it. As a child, I thought there was no stench worse than the sulfur fumes from the paper mill. The only people who couldn't smell itwere those closest to it. All the mill workers had nasal fatigue, when the fumes were so overwhelming that the nose could no longer detect them. Paul said that after a while the odor didn't bother him, but I could still smell it on his work clothes whenever he walked through the door.

    My brother started working in the paper mill when he turned fifteen. Mr. Davie from across the street had worked for the mill for twenty years, and he was one of the first black supervisors. We had been in Mr. Davie's Boy Scout troop when we were young. I think some guys only joined because they knew he gave summer jobs to neighborhood boys he thought would make good workers. Most everybody wanted a plant position where they could make double or three times what they could get flipping burgers at McDonald's or stocking shelves at TG&Y. Paul liked his pay better than the $3.35 minimum wage my father paid me. I had asked for an even $4—would have settled for $3.50—but he said no.

    "You need to understand how hard some folks have to work for a dollar," Daddy had said. He liked to lecture me on the big picture. Claimed that I'd appreciate all I stood to gain. All this would be mine, he had said once, standing in a room full of caskets.

    I had never received a paycheck with a signature other than my father's, but Paul had never had to rely on him for money. He'd always known how to hustle for a dollar—paper routes, mowing lawns, cleaning gutters—or any of the itemized tasks listed on the "Paul Deacon Enterprises" flyers he stuffed in the neighborhood mailboxes. "Anything that you won't do, I can do for a dollar or two."

    Before he even started working at Gulf Land, Paul already had plans for his wages. Our uncle Parnell had a Mercury pickup, something like the one Lamonte drove on Sanford & Son. For ten years, it had been sitting in his backyard, where the paint had oxidized and the tires had rotted. Paul offered him $300 for it, way too much, considering.

    Mr. Davie had already promised Paul a job when he turned fifteen, but getting Mr. Davie's approval was only the half of it. He still needed our parents to say okay and sign the work permit. Paul tried Mama first.

    "Your father and I'll have to talk about it," she told him.

    Most times that meant no, especially since Daddy thought that the paper mill was somewhere other people's children worked, those without the benefit of a good education, middle-class upbringing, or a family business that was over a century old. He wasn't the kind of man who looked down on people, but he didn't make a habit of looking up to folks either.

    "People talk about blue-collar work like it's an absolute virtue," he had said. "Some people do it because they have no choice. Either by their own doing or by the world being what it is. There's more to working hard than sweating for somebody's wage."

    At that time, the sign in front of the funeral home read "Six Generations in the Service." As far as Randall Deacon was concerned, the seventh generation was a done deal. Before he had even heard about Paul's career aspirations that summer, he had already signed us up for the certification classes at Bishop State College. He even taught the field study courses at the funeral home and hoped we'd be among his students as we prepared to run the funeral home one day. Since I was thirteen, I had worked with my father, running errands, typing death notices, and whatnot. As soon as I got a license, I was driving the family cars I'd spent years washing. There was never a moment when I said, This is what I want to do. By then, I was already doing it. More and more, I'd heard my parents speak of what they planned to do in their retirement. Trips they would take, hobbies they looked forward to. The expectation seemed clear that soon after college, Paul and I would be responsible for the business. My father thought those odd jobs would be good training for the back-office side of things, but Paul was buying time. It was more than a phase. My brother had already told me that he had no intention of joining the business.

    "I'll be damned if I ever drain blood from a body," he said.

    My father had hopes of seeing Paul and me work in the funeral home together. Sometimes while I was there working, Daddy would slip and call me by my brother's name. The firstborn had always worked in the business, and my father had no idea things would be any different. Eventually, it would all come to a head when Paul worked up the nerve to give him that work permit. Daddy didn't say anything at first; he just worked that stare into Paul, waiting for him to explain.



    Continues...

    Excerpted from Like Trees, Walking by Ravi Howard Copyright © 2007 by Ravi Howard. Excerpted by permission.
    All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
    Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

     



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