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A Shout in the Ruins
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Published:
Little, Brown and Company 2018
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Description
Set in Virginia during the Civil War and a century beyond, this novel by the award-winning author of The Yellow Birds explores the brutal legacy of violence and exploitation in American society.
Spanning over one hundred years, from the antebellum era to the 1980's, A Shout in the Ruins examines the fates of the inhabitants of Beauvais Plantation outside of Richmond, Virginia. When war arrives, the master of Beauvais, Anthony Levallios, foresees that dominion in a new America will be measured not in acres of tobacco under cultivation by his slaves, but in industry and capital.
A grievously wounded Confederate veteran loses his grip on a world he no longer understands, and his daughter finds herself married to Levallois, an arrangement that feels little better than imprisonment. And two people enslaved at Beauvais plantation, Nurse and Rawls, overcome impossible odds to be together, only to find that the promise of coming freedom may not be something they will live to see.
Seamlessly interwoven is the story of George Seldom, a man orphaned by the storm of the Civil War, looking back from the 1950s on the void where his childhood ought to have been. Watching the government destroy his neighborhood to build a stretch of interstate highway through Richmond, he travels south in an attempt to recover his true origins. With the help of a young woman named Lottie, he goes in search of the place he once called home, all the while reckoning with the more than 90 years he lived as witness to so much that changed during the 20th century, and so much that didn't.
As we then watch Lottie grapple with life's disappointments and joys in the 1980's, now in her own middle-age, the questions remain: How do we live in a world built on the suffering of others? And can love exist in a place where for 400 years violence has been the strongest form of intimacy? Written with the same emotional intensity, harrowing realism, and poetic precision that made The Yellow Birds one of the most celebrated novels of the past decade, A Shout in the Ruins cements Powers' place in the forefront of American letters and demands that we reckon with the moral weight of our troubling history.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/15/2018
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780316518413
ASIN:
B075CTD426
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Kevin Powers. (2018). A Shout in the Ruins. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kevin Powers. 2018. A Shout in the Ruins. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kevin Powers, A Shout in the Ruins. Little, Brown and Company, 2018.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kevin Powers. A Shout in the Ruins. Little, Brown and Company, 2018. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:28:11
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: Kevin Powers is the author of The Yellow Birds, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and was a National Book Award Finalist, as well as Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting, a collection of poetry. He was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, and holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a Michener Fellow in Poetry. He served in the US Army in 2004 and 2005 in Iraq, where he was deployed as a machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afar.
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shortDescription
Set in Virginia during the Civil War and a century beyond, this novel by the award-winning author of The Yellow Birds explores the brutal legacy of violence and exploitation in American society.
Spanning over one hundred years, from the antebellum era to the 1980's, A Shout in the Ruins examines the fates of the inhabitants of Beauvais Plantation outside of Richmond, Virginia. When war arrives, the master of Beauvais, Anthony Levallios, foresees that dominion in a new America will be measured not in acres of tobacco under cultivation by his slaves, but in industry and capital.
A grievously wounded Confederate veteran loses his grip on a world he no longer understands, and his daughter finds herself married to Levallois, an arrangement that feels little better than imprisonment. And two people enslaved at Beauvais plantation, Nurse and Rawls, overcome impossible odds to be together, only to find that the promise of coming freedom may not be something...
isOwnedByCollections
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title
A Shout in the Ruins
fullDescription
Set in Virginia during the Civil War and a century beyond, this novel by the award-winning author of The Yellow Birds explores the brutal legacy of violence and exploitation in American society.
Spanning over one hundred years, from the antebellum era to the 1980's, A Shout in the Ruins examines the fates of the inhabitants of Beauvais Plantation outside of Richmond, Virginia. When war arrives, the master of Beauvais, Anthony Levallios, foresees that dominion in a new America will be measured not in acres of tobacco under cultivation by his slaves, but in industry and capital.
A grievously wounded Confederate veteran loses his grip on a world he no longer understands, and his daughter finds herself married to Levallois, an arrangement that feels little better than imprisonment. And two people enslaved at Beauvais plantation, Nurse and Rawls, overcome impossible odds to be together, only to find that the promise of coming freedom may not be something they will live to see.
Seamlessly interwoven is the story of George Seldom, a man orphaned by the storm of the Civil War, looking back from the 1950s on the void where his childhood ought to have been. Watching the government destroy his neighborhood to build a stretch of interstate highway through Richmond, he travels south in an attempt to recover his true origins. With the help of a young woman named Lottie, he goes in search of the place he once called home, all the while reckoning with the more than 90 years he lived as witness to so much that changed during the 20th century, and so much that didn't.
As we then watch Lottie grapple with life's disappointments and joys in the 1980's, now in her own middle-age, the questions remain: How do we live in a world built on the suffering of others? And can love exist in a place where for 400 years violence has been the strongest form of intimacy? Written with the same emotional intensity, harrowing realism, and poetic precision that made The Yellow Birds one of the most celebrated novels of the past decade, A Shout in the Ruins cements Powers' place in the forefront of American letters and demands that we reckon with the moral weight of our troubling history.
sortTitle
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crossRefId
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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        March 5, 2018
        This inconsistent follow-up to Powers’s PEN/Hemingway Award–winning The Yellow Birds traces the destructive legacy of slavery from the 19th century to the recent past. The first of the novel’s two main story lines centers on the Beauvais Plantation, contrasting the loveless marriage of its white owners, the young Emily Reid and the volatile Antony Levallois, with the profound connection between two of their slaves, Rawls and Nurse. The affecting second story line, set in 1950s Richmond, Va., concerns 90-year-old George Seldom, the child born of Levallois raping Nurse. Powers strikes a fine balance between the two narratives; less successful, though, are the tangential investigations into the lives of a union officer overseeing Reconstruction, Tom Fitzgerald, and a diner waitress whom George befriends, Lottie Moore. These sections feel like unnecessary padding that softens the impact of the novel as a whole. Emily, Rawls, and Nurse eventually have their violent confrontation with Levallois and make their respective flights from Beauvais, but the resolutions that the book then offers are either too coincidental, cheaply tragic, or vague. The reader is left with a shout that enervates more than it inspires. Agent: Peter Straus, Rogers, Coleridge and White.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 15, 2018
        Spanning more than 120 years, Powers' (Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting, 2014, etc.) new novel is an exploration of the ongoing effects of the Civil War.Alternating chapters between the Civil War era and the mid-20th century, the novel opens with the mysterious disappearance, and rumored death, of Emily Reid Levallois in the late 1860s and then moves back to look over her life beginning with her birth. Her father, Bob, was a mule skinner in Chesterfield County outside of Richmond, Virginia, whose work paid for a "modest but respectable" house and two slaves, Aurelia and her son, Rawls. The Reids live next to the Beauvais Plantation, owned by the coldly cruel Antony Levallois, one of those planters who "dreamed their farms were kingdoms." After Rawls tries to run away, looking for a fellow slave named Nurse he's met and fallen in love with, Levallois buys him, Aurelia, and a Percheron horse for about $1,400, demonstrating in a deft stroke the cruel position of slaves as mere animals to their owners. Levallois was happy with his purchase: "Accounting for inflation, he damn near got the horse for free." Meanwhile, in a story set in the 1950s, we meet George Seldom, now in his 90s and on a quest to seek out some of the places associated with his childhood. While at first the two narratives seem to have little relationship to each other, as the novel progresses we learn of the intricate connections between characters over generations. Back amid the chaos of the Civil War, Bob Reid joins the Confederate army and is badly wounded, his life coming even further apart when he learns that Emily has taken shelter at Beauvais and that Levallois has plans to marry her. With a complex structure reminiscent of Faulkner, Powers adroitly weaves his narrative threads together with subtle connections that reinforce his themes of longing for coherence and the continuing effect of the past on the present.An impressive novel of slavery, destruction, and the arduous difficulties of love.

        COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        April 15, 2018
        Some passages in Powers' second novel, following his awarding-winning The Yellow Birds (2012), unfold with a fable's tragic inevitability, while specificity of setting and character, both strikingly described and original, will brand them into the reader's consciousness. In his depiction of America's heritage of racial trauma, he takes the long view, moving between Civil War-era Virginia and 120-plus years later. Mystery surrounds the fate of Emily Reid Levallois, mistress of the Beauvais Plantation, near Richmond, after a devastating 1866 fire. Scenes detail her unhappy circumstances: due to terrible battlefield injuries, her father is unable to prevent his covetous, cruel neighbor, Antony Levallois, from wedding Emily. An enslaved couple, Rawls and Nurse, are brought together and torn apart. In a linked tale beginning in 1956, George Seldom, a ninetysomething African American, travels through the segregated South to his onetime North Carolina home while pondering the unknown circumstances that ensured his childhood survival. Beautifully formed sentences express unsettling truths about humanity, yet tendrils of hope emerge, showing how love and kindness can take root in seemingly barren earth.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from March 15, 2018

        Powers's debut novel, The Yellow Birds, a National Book Award finalist, offered a poignant rumination on America's reverence for patriotism but simultaneous amnesia regarding the lives of deployed soldiers in a story drawn from the author's own experience as an Iraq War veteran. This second novel, set in Powers's hometown of Richmond, VA, probes the grip of traumatic memory in the aftermath of the Civil War. While former Confederate soldiers roam the backdrop of this work with conflicting convictions dictating their actions in a newly liberated South, former slaves are navigating the concept of freedom within the lingering structures of oppression. Meanwhile, a former plantation owner tries to harness Reconstruction to his advantage only to discover that redemption will not be his fate. Returning to this land, almost 100 years later, a man born shortly after the end of the war struggles to claim his memories of home. VERDICT A masterly meditation on our unbreakable connection to a world predicated on cyclical violence. [See Prepub Alert, 11/6/17.]--Joshua Finnell, Colgate Univ., Hamilton, NY

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 15, 2018

        Powers's debut novel, The Yellow Birds, a National Book Award finalist, offered a poignant rumination on America's reverence for patriotism but simultaneous amnesia regarding the lives of deployed soldiers in a story drawn from the author's own experience as an Iraq War veteran. This second novel, set in Powers's hometown of Richmond, VA, probes the grip of traumatic memory in the aftermath of the Civil War. While former Confederate soldiers roam the backdrop of this work with conflicting convictions dictating their actions in a newly liberated South, former slaves are navigating the concept of freedom within the lingering structures of oppression. Meanwhile, a former plantation owner tries to harness Reconstruction to his advantage only to discover that redemption will not be his fate. Returning to this land, almost 100 years later, a man born shortly after the end of the war struggles to claim his memories of home. VERDICT A masterly meditation on our unbreakable connection to a world predicated on cyclical violence. [See Prepub Alert, 11/6/17.]--Joshua Finnell, Colgate Univ., Hamilton, NY

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

popularity
646
publisher
Little, Brown and Company
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