Editor’s Note: “I don’t go out on a limb like this for one of our sponsors more than two or three times a year, but I hope you will read David Greene’s novel Unmentionables, because it is a terrific, life-affirming read…. It should have a place in every reader’s library, and the sooner you make time to read it the sooner you will share the great experience I’ve had the past few days. ”
by David Greene
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 Reviews
Here’s the set-up:
Field hand Jimmy meets Cato, a house servant from a nearby plantation. Jimmy, who despises whites, mistakes Cato for a white man. But soon he learns that Cato is only half white. Cato is the illegitimate son of plantation owner Augustus Askew. With time, Jimmy’s fascination with Cato grows into romantic love.
Unmentionables is also the story of Dorothy Holland, whose parents own Jimmy. Dorothy does not want any man to control her life. When she falls in love with Cato’s half-brother, William Askew, she must persuade him to agree to her terms, and to betray his role as a Confederate army officer.
This book was fascinating from beginning to end. It is one of those rare books one never wants to end. The story is one never told before, in a situation everyone can learn from. Part of what makes the book so enjoyable is that the style is very reminiscent of 19th century English novels — Trollope, for example. Highly recommended.
Unmentionables by David Greene is set in the American Civil War south and recounts the intertwining stories of two couples, Jimmy and Cato, who are gay, black, and enslaved, and Dorothy and William, who are straight, white, and wealthy. If this time period and subject matter seem a tad too distant to relate to your present 21st century lives, fret not. History in this work is used masterfully to transform the specific into the universal. Unmentionables is about love – romantic and otherwise…
Mr. Greene’s great appreciation of all that is sensual is equaled by his intellectual understanding of relationships that cross established racial, social, sexual, and political boundaries. In a style that is straightforward without being encyclopedic, poetic without being over-embellished, and informative without being didactic, he achieves that balance of form and content required for a successful, and, in this case, beautiful work of art.”
David Greene’s creative life has evolved from film to photography to writing. He wrote and directed the film, Pamela and Ian, in which the characters grapple with the fact that they are shadows of light and that the film must end.
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