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Oxherding tale av Charles Richard Johnson
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Oxherding tale (urspr publ 1982; utgåvan 1982)

av Charles Richard Johnson

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1774115,321 (4.11)1
One night in the antebellum South, a slave owner and his African-American butler stay up to all hours until, too drunk to face their wives, they switch places in each other's beds. The result is a hilarious imbroglio and an offspring -- Andrew Hawkins, whose life becomes Oxherding Tale. Through sexual escapades, picaresque adventures, and philosophical inquiry, Hawkins navigates white and black worlds and comments wryly on human nature along the way. Told with pure genius, Oxherding Tale is a deliciously funny, bitterly ironic account of slavery, racism, and the human spirit; and it reveals the author as a great talent with even greater humanity.… (mer)
Medlem:minnesotaj
Titel:Oxherding tale
Författare:Charles Richard Johnson
Info:New York : Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, c1982.
Samlingar:Fiction & Memoir
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Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Oxherding Tale av Charles Johnson (1982)

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Oxherding Tale is a multifaceted and complex work and one in which the medium is as important as the message.

The book's medley of different narrative traditions coexist and complement each other in a very smooth way. Most importantly, this synthesis brings a lot more to the table than their constituent elements. If you haven't ever chuckled while reading a slave narrative or a Buddhist sutra, you will find this a refreshing change of pace.

Mr. Johnson has a gift for vocabulary and there were certain paragraphs of description that I thought were truly stunning. The author lingers a tad too long on certain philosophical concepts that can make the characterization seem overweening at points. However, this is more than made up for by his incredible gift for comedic timing which make this book extremely lively and engaging.

There were also two interlude chapters commenting on the form of the book that I'll confess were a bit lost on me. The language was obtuse, but I suspect that it'll reveal itself upon revisitation. This is a work that will bear fruit with rereads. ( )
  ZambeziJql | Sep 16, 2016 |
There is much made of the beginning of this book - that the master and slave-butler swap beds and wives, after a night of drunken card-playing. This incident is only a device to bring the hero into existence in a particular way, it becomes less and less relevant to the story as it is told.

It is a picaresque slave-narrative told with a strongly Buddhist point of view and whereas this sort of book expounding the author's philosophy generally bores me rigid - as in the execrable 'The Island' (Aldous Huxley), this time it works. The series of events, almost complete stories in themselves are very visual, which adds to the enjoyment, and I can see a film of the book, although I don't think the philosophy would survive.

Perhaps what is different in this book from so many slave-narratives, real or fiction, is that the Whites, Masters and Mistresses, are not generally cruel in a day-to-day manner. No, they are self-indulgent. They are cruel only when displeased in a large or small way. They pretend to themselves that all's right with their world and so therefore all must be right with the world and if it isn't, well then, its probably the slaves' fault as they are supposed to be doing all the work in it. Punish them, sell them, what does it matter? They are only ciphers or farm animals, and only attain a humanity of sorts - like the slave butler - when it suits the Master or Mistress.

What did I learn from the book? That it actually does matter what you look like, for some people, a lot of people, nothing but nothing is that important no matter that they pretend otherwise.

When reading the book, forget the protagonist's slave status and substitute 'not free' or 'owned' instead because that is how he thinks of himself and how the author has written the book. ( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
This book was strange--humorous and sobering, sometimes even in the same scene. It was hard to tell where the story was going sometimes, but in an entirely good way; I guess what I'm trying to say is that the story was unpredictable. The author sometimes lingers on philosophical subjects, leaving the story behind for a page or a chapter before returning. I can see some people complaining about this, though I don't understand why they would when Mr. Johnson makes it feel so natural.

Oh--and I should mention that this book has one of the most satisfying and beautiful endings in my opinion. I actually cried tears of relief when I finished the last page. Good stuff. Read it if you're ready for some good contemporary literature. ( )
  sarsbar | Jan 5, 2010 |
A complex novel of race, slavery, history, and philosophy. ( )
  zenosbooks | Feb 25, 2009 |
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One night in the antebellum South, a slave owner and his African-American butler stay up to all hours until, too drunk to face their wives, they switch places in each other's beds. The result is a hilarious imbroglio and an offspring -- Andrew Hawkins, whose life becomes Oxherding Tale. Through sexual escapades, picaresque adventures, and philosophical inquiry, Hawkins navigates white and black worlds and comments wryly on human nature along the way. Told with pure genius, Oxherding Tale is a deliciously funny, bitterly ironic account of slavery, racism, and the human spirit; and it reveals the author as a great talent with even greater humanity.

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