Please come support the Page in Time: Literary Review “River, Cross My Heart” by Breena Clark
Author Breena Clarke's first novel takes place in Georgetown in 1925, where a large and close-knit African American community took shape beneath the shadow of segregation. At the center of the story is baby Clara, a six year old who is swallowed by the Potomac as her sister, Johnnie Mae, cools off in the brackish Our Rating: water. It's the only place the girls can find relief--they're banned from the new, clean 3 of 4 stars swimming pool the white kids use. After Clara drowns, the river is never the same, and Johnnie Mae hovers on the edge of womanhood wondering if she'll be able to get past her guilt and emptiness. In an eloquent passage, Clarke writes, "Losing a loved one, a family member, is like losing a tooth. After a while, those teeth remaining shift and lean and spread out to split the distance between themselves and the other teeth still left, trying to close up spaces." Bits of wisdom like this are the book's charm. Most remarkable are the church scenes, which Clarke renders almost purely in the give-and-take of voices: the booming preacher's sermon ("The people we love, we only borrowing them"), and the congregation's "Praise Jesus, Amen" exclamations. The author based her novel on stories passed down in Georgetown--tales of that area's first black churches, founded when people decided they wanted their own place of worship, and implicitly their own God. In church the novel takes flight. Elsewhere River, Cross My Heart suffers from clumsy, purple prose, and a plot that moves forward in labored fits and starts. Clarke painstakingly tries to re-create this past world, but sometimes it seems her duty to history is holding her back, bogging her down in period-piece details. In the effortless church scenes, history loses its gravity and is absorbed by grace. -- Reviewer: Emily White (c/o Amazon.com) River Cross my heart is a soul-stirring novel about the Bynum family and how they cope with the loss of Clara, the youngest child. The author, Breena Clark, is brillant in her use of descriptive vocabulary. Clark is at her best in allowing the reader to feel the pain that family endures. In addition, readers will find the setting to have the satisfaction of their Mama's down-home pecan pie. Georgetown is an easy-going town which is as simple as it is complex. Clark has also crafted an excellent blend of characters. The plot falters slightly, but overall, this novel was very good for Ms. Clarke’s first effort.
May/June “Hot Spot” Reviewed by: Shantelle Gray
African American Museum (Dallas) First Friday: Music Under the Dome Every month for FREE a local band performs jazz, rhythm, and blues in the rotunda. Seating is cabaret style. Visitors are also able to tour the galleries. The program is an innovative series that provides a fun and energized social environment for the community to enjoy local blues and jazz musicians in an intimate setting in the Museum’s Rotunda. What’s Hot: Museum Members: Free Admission $10.00 Non-Members (Includes drinks and food) This Month: Janice Shepherd Friday, June 1st, 2007 from 7:00-10:00 p.m. Reservations: 214-565-9026, ext. 315 Location: 3536 Grand Ave.(Fair Park) Dallas, TX 75315
Front Row Seat: Film Review Reviewed by: Adrian Gray
“One Night With the King” As a Christian who loves movies, I am watchful of films which portray biblical stories. At times, the quest for movie house profitability can overshadow if not outright destroy the actual biblical passage. On the other end of the spectrum are movies that make a strong attempt at sticking to scripture but for whatever reason, rather it be bland directing or poor acting, miss on stimulating viewer interest throughout the film. I am quite pleased to report that One Night with the King, available on DVD, succeeds in entertainment and truth. Directed by Michael O. Sajibel, One Night with the King explores the grand history of Esther (Tiffany Dupont), her love for her God, her country, and of course her husband King Xerxes (Luke Goss). Instead of running from the story, the directors delve deeply into it bringing out the most important element, the power of God. Young Esther must learn to put her faith in God even if it means losing her life. There are excellent performances throughout the film. Of particular note, is the performance of Tommy “Tiny” Lester as the Royal Eunuch, perhaps his best performance yet. One Night With the King is a breath of fresh air, and I hope another signal to Hollywood that biblically accurate movies can be entertaining.
Published on Jun 26, 2012
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