[LMB] OT: Book Club and A Free Man of Color

Tony Zbaraschuk tonyz at eskimo.com
Mon Dec 15 23:23:20 GMT 2014


On Sun, December 14, 2014 4:48 pm, Nicholas David Rosen wrote:
> I know I'm not the only Barbara Hambly reader on the list, so this may be
> of interest.  I got the No Strings Attached book club (at the Patent
> Office) to read _A Free Man of Color_, and it was by no means as popular
> as I had hoped.  One woman (white) said that she had read actual slave
> narratives, and when she wanted to read something about being black in
> the antebellum South, she preferred the real thing.  Also, she objected
> that Benjamin January was improbably multi-talented, and recovered from
> an injury awfully fast; furthermore, that he seemed more like a modern
> man somehow transported back to the 1830's than an authentic product of
> his time.

One may, I think, expect protagonists to be somewhat atypical (or they
wouldn't have what Jo Walton calls "protagonismus").  I have read most
of Hambly's stuff, though I finally gave up on the January series about
6-8 books in.

Hambly can be way too grimdark at times, but she's also much better
than many writers at getting a real sense of where evil comes from,
and she's got a very high mastery of mood and plot.  I keep almost
all of her fantasy novels around, even 20-30 years later.

I was impressed by her research on New Orleans (which is NOT South
Carolina or Virginia or Texas), and generally OK with her plots and
writing.  I think your contemporary is probably overreacting.


Tony Z


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