THE KEEPERS OF THE HOUSE by Shirley Ann Grau
Kirkus Star

THE KEEPERS OF THE HOUSE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a major novel in which the brushfires of racial hatred and blood bitterness darken the delta landscape. Much of the novel's power stems from the unassailable artistry with which Miss Grau writes about the physical world, the slow time of the seasons, the cotton fields and pine uplands, the stretching swamps and the river. Here, in the old plantation house built many generations ago, Abigail Howland tells her story and that of her grandfather William and his Negro woman Margaret, the two she loved whose lives were inseparable from hers even in death. For Margaret, the tall, awboned, reserved Freejack who had been more of a mother to Abigail than her own, had also borne William Howland's other children whom in later years she had sent away up orth, never to come back again ""as niggers"". And at William's death, after he had made the fortune which could give him control of the town and the county, Margaret leaves the plantation to die in the bottomlands where he had found her. Not so her memory, for bigail marries an ambitious segregationist politician and the old story of Howland's ""wood's colts"" is revived. Abandoned by her husband, Abigail is alone with her children to face an ugly racist attack and it is not in courage or hate, but out of ""necessity"" that she defends, defies, destroys-- (""It wasn't Will Howland you burned down, it was your own house."").... This is a novel of real magnitude, to read, to long remember, and it confirms an astonishingly gifted writer.

Pub Date: March 24th, 1964
ISBN: 1400030749
Publisher: Knopf