A Visitation of Spirits Marks the debut of a very gifted writer Kenan speaks eloquently and with a great deal of courage Gloria NaylorRandall Kenan s daring and innovative first novel weaves a vivid and horrific tale through

  • Title: A Visitation of Spirits
  • Author: Randall Kenan
  • ISBN: 9780375703973
  • Page: 197
  • Format: Paperback
  • Marks the debut of a very gifted writer Kenan speaks eloquently and with a great deal of courage Gloria NaylorRandall Kenan s daring and innovative first novel weaves a vivid and horrific tale through the generations of a black Southern family.Sixteen year old Horace Cross is plagued by issues that hover in his impressionable spirit and take shape in his mind as lo Marks the debut of a very gifted writer Kenan speaks eloquently and with a great deal of courage Gloria NaylorRandall Kenan s daring and innovative first novel weaves a vivid and horrific tale through the generations of a black Southern family.Sixteen year old Horace Cross is plagued by issues that hover in his impressionable spirit and take shape in his mind as loathsome demons, culminating in one night of horrible and tragic transformation In the face of Horace s fate, his cousin Reverend James Jimmy Green questions the values of a community that nourishes a boy, places their hopes for salvation on him, only to deny him his destiny Told in a montage of voices and memories, A Visitation of the Spirits just how richly populated a family s present is with the spirits of the past and the future.

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      Published :2019-06-18T07:19:02+00:00

    About “Randall Kenan

    1. Randall Kenan says:

      Randall Kenan s first novel, A Visitation of Spirits was published by Grove Press in 1989 and a collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, was published in 1992 by Harcourt, Brace That collection was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was among The New York Times Notable Books of 1992 He is also the author of a young adult biography of James Baldwin 1993 , and wrote the text for Norman Mauskoff s book of photographs, A Time Not Here The Mississippi Delta 1997 Walking on Water Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty First Century was published by Alfred A Knopf in 1999, and was nominated for the Southern Book Award His latest book, The Fire This Time, was published in May 2007 He is currently working on a novel, There s A Man Going Round Taking Names, set in North Carolina and New York City and a book about the North Carolina hog industry.He was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1963, and spent his childhood in Chinquapin, North Carolina He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received a B.A in English in 1985 From 1985 to 1989 he worked on the editorial staff of Alfred A Knopf, Inc, publishers In 1989 he began teaching writing at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University He was the first William Blackburn Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Duke University in the fall of 1994, and the Edourd Morot Sir Visiting Professor of Creating Writing at his alma mater in 1995 He was the John and Renee Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi, Oxford 1997 98 ,Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Memphis, and held the Lehman Brady Professorship at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University He has also taught urban literature at Vassar College.He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, the John Dos Passos Prize, and was the 1997 Rome Prize winner from the American Academy of Arts and Letters Currently he is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UNC Chapel Hill.



    2 thoughts on “A Visitation of Spirits

    1. this book is so ridiculously good, i had to check and check again that this author has in fact written only one novel, and no fiction at all (at least in book form) since 1993. NINETEENNINETYTHREE???? what are you doing, randall kenan? can you pleasepleaseplease write us another novel? what flows in the arteries of this magnificent mixture of narrative, hallucination/visitation, snippets of playwrightery, first-and-third-person chapters, old stories and present stories -- what keeps it alive and [...]

    2. seriously needs to consider putting in a rating system broken down into half-stars. I feel bad giving this only 3, but I don't feel satisfied enough to give it four. So, for the record, this gets 3 and one half stars from me!Horace's story was fan-freaking-tastic. I was very invested in his break-down and his horror filled night. James Greene's narrative was also pretty interesting. Kenan has an uncanny ability to grotesquely and vividly describe the killings of things. In fact, some of his desc [...]

    3. It may be a notable artifact of its time and a significant step in its author's development, but I found this to be an immature and confused book. It uses hallucinatory passages to review the past, slips in and out of reality, and varies so wildly between coherence and an overboard striving for lyricism that I was annoyed throughout. The problem for me: I have to talk about this book twice to library audiences in the next couple of weeks, so I will talk about the extremes, the constraints and di [...]

    4. This is a fascinatingly complex novel that explores the experience of adolescence in the rural south as an individual who is both black and queer. Kenan shows us how the the tension of religious and ethic expectations for behavior confront the struggles of individual difference--difference coded as "wrong." The novel is at once haunting, frightening, poignant and important. "A Visitation of Spirits" is a novel of troubled youth, of sexual awakening, of powerlessness, and of communal failure. It [...]

    5. I just finished re-reading this magical, heart-quickening, darkly erotic novel. I'm so in awe of Kenan's talent, courage and language. I wish him millions of readers all over the world for centuries to come.

    6. A Visitation of Spirits by Randall Kenan is a work of contemporary southern literature that focuses on the the current African American experience in a small town in North Carolina across four generations. The Cross family, as their surname seems to conspicuously invoke, are steeped in the rhythm and rituals of the southern locale: they attend church every Sunday, where they are mainstay leaders of the congregation, and this institution functions as the animating spoke around which the family re [...]

    7. Un libro intenso, a tratti amaro. Si alternano stili diversi, spesso contrapposti. Descrizioni e allucinazioni si susseguono. La storia è quella di Horace, ragazzo di colore degli Stati del Sud, i suoi antenati schiavi. Scopre di essere attratto dagli uomini, ma non riesce ad accettarlo. E decide che l’unica via di fuga sia un vecchio rito magico medievale, vorrebbe tramutarsi in un uccello. Ma le cose non vanno come aveva sperato, e in una notte di allucinazioni, ripercorre la sua vita. Per [...]

    8. It is always an accomplishment when a writer completes a novel, never mind publishes one. Anyone who does the former gets immediate points, but doing the latter doesn’t mean it’s a great novel or even a very good one. Randall Kenan’s first novel, 1989’s A Visitation of Spirits, is neither great nor very good, but it is a notable entry in post- Alice Walker and Toni Morrison African American, particularly Gen X African American, fiction. Kenan could very well find his niche somewhere betw [...]

    9. Funny story regarding this book. Several years ago, I was invited to a writing scholarship contest at college in North Carolina. I was thrilled (the college was one of my top choices) and agreed. The weekend I was there, Randall Kenan was going to present on "A Visitation of Spirits," so they sent me a free copy of the novel. A few weeks later, I did the math and realized that since I would have to buy my own plane ticket, I would lose money even if I won the scholarship. I backed out of the wee [...]

    10. I initially checked out this book because it was written by one of my former creative writing professor, and I was curious to read something he’d written. This book is set in the fictional town of Tims Creek, North Carolina, where he has set his other fictional stories.A Visitation of Spirits tells the story of Horace Cross, a “16-year-old descendant of slaves and deacons of the church,” who wants to escape his life by transforming into a bird. He is gay, but he has been raised to believe [...]

    11. “Though he remembered remembering. . . . It was neither clear nor chronological, and the images, the shards of feelings slicing at his heart caused him more confusion” (Kenan 139) In A Visitation of Spirits, Randall Kenan uses multiple perspectives, genres, and points in time to demonstrate that the truth of an event—in this case, a young man’s suicide—cannot be found in one linear storyline. Kenan both emphasizes and undermines the importance of chronology by beginning most chapters w [...]

    12. Horace is a young black man in rural North Carolina: brilliant, the hope of his family and school. But Horace is so distraught with himself (exactly why he feels this way takes a while for the book to reveal) that he attempts a magic spell to transform into a bird, so that he won't have to live a human life. Unfortunately, he instead summons a demon which takes him over and forces him to do various weird and terrible things. Or maybe he has a mental break that he interprets as a demon; the book [...]

    13. Debut novel from Kenan. Experimental choices--use of stage directions for dialogue, for example--enhanced the narrative without distracting from the story. Plot centers on struggles of Horace & Jimmy, cousins from the small Southern town of Tim's Creek (also used by Kenan in his excellent "Let the Dead Bury Their Dead"). Horace faces emotional and literal demons, while Jimmy copes with losses and faith. Tangential plotline with Ruth and Ezekiel rambled, but still retained a degree of relevan [...]

    14. Kenan's prose is frequently dazzling and the story provides an important and distinct experience outside of the traditional southern narrative. It was Kenan's first novel and there is undeniable brilliance and risk-taking. I didn't really get into the structural affinity with Dickens's Christmas Carol or perhaps I just didn't understand it. I was glad to spend some time with this voice from North Carolina (a state of which I am sadly quite ignorant).

    15. I actually read this book years ago but it is definitely one of my favorites. It is beautifully written and I was amazed that this was his first novel. I don't understand why Randall Kenan is not on the level of a Toni Morrison for example. He's that good.

    16. If you enjoy reading complex hard to understand book then this is the book for you. The plot jumps around and its hard to keep up with who is talking throughout the book. The concept is interesting however, I was disappointed at the ending. I only read this book for a college class and I won't read it again unless I have to for another class.

    17. This was very Toni Morrison-esque. It switched narrators, even from first to third. It skipped through time. It even changed genres here and there. Parts were good, but I just didn't have concentration that it took to truly understand what was going on at each moment. I kept wanting a family tree to keep everyone straight. It would have been better if I had given more of a crap.

    18. Kenan teaches at UNC and was raised in a small town in North Carolina, much like the one where he sets this novel. The novel has an interesting structure and some very poignant moments, but it wasn't quite as captivating as I'd hoped.

    19. This is the best piece of Southern literature I've read in years!As close as you'll get to O'Connor, Faulkner, or Welty these days.Couldn't put it down after the first ten pages!

    20. A tragic story beautifully told, but sometimes confusing. Kenan was great with the family dialogue.

    21. Didn't realize how old this book was when I picked it up, from 1989. But a solid read that stands the test of time. Still has a powerful message with good characters.

    22. Some parts of this book I really enjoyed and identified with, but others I found difficult or confusing. So I'd really like to give it a 2 1/2 star rating, but settled for 2.

    23. ‎"Even television had played a role in his mysterious search. It was the magical blue box, soon to become the yardstick against which he measured his world."

    24. disturbing at times, but a real page-turner. want to discuss this with my wise son when he reads this. I would definitely read more from him.

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