THE BLACK VINE by Hal Bennett
Kirkus Star


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In his first novel, Wilderness of Vines, the debilitating chills and fever of the Negro's dilemma were muted; it took place in a closed Southern Negro society. Here the inherited disquiet becomes overt in an equally baffled, poignant confrontation in the North. When down South at the beginning of the novel the child David is buffeted by his mother's withdrawals; he is also conscious as a black child of the specter of blackness where the lightest color means the choicest burial plot; and he watches with some triumph as his sister is carried off by an eagle. Returning to New Jersey with his mother who has been the mistress of one of two white men in a Negro ghetto, David becomes more desperate. Death floodlights the search for understanding of black and white and there is a riot in which David declares for his blackness.... Yet the sum of temporary involvement, of rejection, is inevitably love and at the close David refuses the pattern set by black and white societies. The novel leaves something to be desired in structural unity, but it again affirms the author as a strong and unusual writer attesting to the power of human feeling and need.

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1967
Publisher: Doubleday