The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter
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  • 9781609806576

The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter

Kia Corthron

The hotly anticipated first novel by lauded playwright and The Wire TV writer Kia Corthron, The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter sweeps American history from 1941 to the twenty-first century through the lives of four men--two white brothers from rural Alabama, and two black brothers from small-town Maryland--whose journey culminates in an explosive and devastating encounter between the two families.

On the eve of America's entry into World War II, in a tiny Alabama town, two brothers come of age in the shadow of the local chapter of the Klan, where Randall--a brilliant eighth-grader and the son of a sawmill worker--begins teaching sign language to his eighteen-year-old deaf and uneducated brother B.J. Simultaneously, in small-town Maryland, the sons of a Pullman Porter--gifted six-year-old Eliot and his artistic twelve-year-old brother Dwight--grow up navigating a world expanded both by a visit from civil and labor rights activist A. Philip Randolph and by the legacy of a lynched great-aunt.  

The four mature into men, directly confronting the fierce resistance to the early civil rights movement, and are all ultimately uprooted. Corthron's ear for dialogue, honed from years of theater work, brings to life all the major concerns and movements of America's past century through the organic growth of her marginalized characters, and embraces a quiet beauty in their everyday existences. 

Sharing a cultural and literary heritage with the work of Toni Morrison, Alex Haley, and Edward P. Jones, Kia Corthron's The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter is a monumental epic deftly bridging the political and the poetic, and wrought by one of America's most recently recognized treasures.

"Kia Corthron has written a magnificent, truly epic tale of the American Century told through the lives of two families, four brothers, three generations, big movements and small moments. It deserves a place among the great American novels precisely because it cuts to the very heart of America: the color line. In vivid, often breathtaking language, she reveals a changing world where love and sex and violence can rain down in the same cloudburst, and laughter and terror mingle easily, where the color line is not merely a barrier but a jump rope, a noose, a sign, and above all a tether that binds her characters and this country together."  
—Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

Kia Corthron and Robin D.G. Kelley in conversation at The Strand Bookstore, New York City, February 2, 2016:

 

About Kia Corthron

Kia Corthron has written many plays, fifteen of which have been produced nationally and internationally. For her body of work for the stage, she has garnered the Windham Campbell Prize for Drama, the Simon Great Plains Playwright Award, the United States Artists Jane Addams Fellowship, the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Otto Award. She has also written a bit of television (Edgar and Writers Outstanding Series awards for The Wire). The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter is her first novel. She grew up in Cumberlnd, Maryland, and lives in Harlem, New York City.

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