It is the mid-1950s in Quarrytown, Georgia. In the slum known
as the Ape Yard, hope's last refuge is a boardinghouse where a
handful of residents dream of a better life. Earl Whitaker, who is
white, and Tio Grant, who is black, are both teenagers, both
orphans, and best friends. In the same house live two of the most
important adults in the boys' lives: Em Jojohn, the gigantic Lumbee
Indian handyman, is notorious for his binges, his rat-catching
prowess, and his mysterious departures from town. Jayell Crooms, a
gifted but rebellious architect, is stuck in a loveless marriage to
a conventional woman intent on climbing the social ladder.
Crooms's vision of a new Ape Yard, rebuilt by its own residents,
unites the four-and puts them on a collision course with Doc Bobo,
a smalltown Machiavelli who rules the community like a feudal lord.
Jeff Fields's exuberantly defined characters and his firmly rooted
sense of place have earned A Cry of Angels an intensely
loyal following. Its republication, more than three decades since
it first appeared, is cause for celebration.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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