May 9th, 2012


Book Report: Five Smooth Stones

My reading list for spring is looking pretty sparse. However, I finished Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn last night. I’m feeling it lingering in my head.

The story is about the civil rights movement and in particular about a person named David Champlain. Despite having had a great-grandfather and a father who were both killed by white violence, David is one of the lucky ones. His grandparents raise him with love, an expatriate Scandinavian professor tutors him and prepares him for college, Harvard and Oxford teach him law. He is a man of two worlds, of poor New Orleans and educated Boston. When his grandfather also is killed by white violence, he chooses to work to free his people.

It could have been a preachy meditation on Bad Whitey, a take entirely justified by the facts. Instead it is a novel with well-drawn characters who have to make decisions in an insane world. Of course it was depressing, but it was also uplifting in a way, showing that love might not conquer all right away, but it can do miracles.

Thanks to Anneli for lending the book to me!