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"A harrowing, luminous Jim Crow story . . . Smith writes lushly, with a painterly eye, [as] a riveting protagonist moves through unbearable racial carnage into a kind of legend."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)Delvin Walker is just a boy when his mother flees their home in Chattanooga, accused of killing a white man. Taken in by Cornelius Oliver, proprietor of the town's leading Negro funeral home, he discovers the art of caring for the aggrieved and a rare peace in a hostile world. Yet tragedy visits them near-daily, and after a series of devastating events--a lynching, a church burning--Delvin fears being accused of murdering a local white boy and leaves town.Haunted by his mother's disappearance, Delvin rides the rails, meets fellow travelers, falls in love, and sees an America sliding into the Great Depression. Before his hopes for life and love can be realized, he and a group of other young men are falsely charged with the rape of two white women and shackled to a system of enslavement masquerading as justice. As he is pushed deeper into the darkness of imprisonment, his resolve to escape burns only more brightly, until, in a last spasm of flight, he is called to choose his fate.In language both intimate and lyrical, award-winning poet and novelist Charlie Smith conjures a fresh and complex portrait of the South of the 1920s and '30s--and the astonishing endurance of one battered young man who lives past and through it all.Praise for Charlie Smith"Smith's prose is pitch-perfect and fierce, and I'm always glad to find myself on a ride through his America."--Philip Gourevitch, The New Yorker"One of the very best prose writers in contemporary letters."--Rick Moody, The Believer"May be America's most bewitching stylist alive."--New York Public Library"Mr. Smith writes with a scalding aortal brilliance that leaves the reader drunk on dream, unable to resist."--Seth Morgan, The New York Times Book Review"The top-ranking Southern novelist of the last several decades."--The Seattle Times"A mastery such as Smith's is rare, and . . . the bounties furnished are great: pearls of understanding that circle some kind of holy instruction."--Kathleen Alcott, Los Angeles Review of Books"Lyrical, buoyant, rich. . . . Charlie Smith is prodigiously talented."--The New York Times
A stunning collection from a poet who "writes with a scalding aortal brilliance that leaves the reader drunk on dream" (New York Times Book Review). Selecting from among Charlie Smith's seven previous collections and including more than forty astonishing new poems, Jump Soul represents work from the career of a poet who "writes with a scalding aortal brilliance that leaves the reader drunk on dream" (New York Times Book Review). From the lush Southern landscapes of Red Roads (1987) and the haunted longing of Heroin (2000) to the bold eroticism of Women of America (2004) and, most recently, the fresh and exuberant Word Comix (2009), Smith reminds us "that we don't really know what beauty is until we've looked hard at the horror that throws beauty into bright relief" (David Kirby, New York Times). Beauty in Smith's poetry is mixed with harrowing darkness; it is "the rescued returned to the floods / and fruit pickers, those who catch beauty / aflight on the sweet-smelling breeze, authentic characters / messed up, dead on the floor / of western motels, crapped out jinxed, lost / to the boulevards." Smith is a poet of "shimmering energy" (Mary Oliver). His work, brutal in its honesty and stunning in its lyricism, is represented in all of its extraordinary range in this new collection. From "Collected First Lines" I'm sure there is meaning, and I know it's sometimes more interesting to stand in a road than to move along it, though even this, said with such confidence just a minute ago, explains nothing.
In Men in Miami Hotels, Smith tells the story of Cot Sims, a listing Miami gangster who returns to Key West aiming to--among other things--save his fool-proof mother from homelessness after a recent hurricane. For love, for cash, and for the hell of it, he snatches a trove of emeralds that his boss, the relentlessly vicious Albertson, keeps hidden on a small island. And then trouble, which has been coiling around him for years like a snake, bites. Cot has forty-eight hours to return the emeralds before items of equal or greater value--namely, the lives of everyone he loves--are repossessed by Albertson and his army of hired gunmen. Fleeing across the Caribbean, Cot blazes a trail of survival, skeltering between the narrowing walls of fate. Charlie Smith has been called a novelist of "appalling brilliance" on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. Critics have praised his work with the fervor of converts. And his prose, as radiant and dynamic as it has ever been, "lands him in the ranks of Americas greatest contemporary fiction writers" (Houston Chronicle).
Billy Brent and Alice Stephens are star-crossed like all great lovers. Their need for each other drives them from Istanbul to Miami, Venice to Mexico. After years of encounters and escapes, they lose themselves deep in a desert wilderness, searching for a way forward, only to learn that sometimes the trail simply forks. From Charlie Smith, author of three New York Times Notable Books, comes his long-awaited new novel, his first in more than a decade. An exploration of the true particulars of obsession, Three Delays is a book of the spirit, of how broken people love and persist from darkness to darkness.
"Smith writes with a scalding aortal brilliance that leaves the reader drunk on dream."--New York Times Book Review Taking as his starting point such wide-ranging subjects as comic books, politics, romantic love, geology, newspapers, totalitarianism, the natural world, the classics, Paris, Miami Beach, and war, Charlie Smith has written freshly realized poems in which compassion and tough-mindedness gesture toward wisdom.
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