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Time's Memory Hardcover – March 21, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up More than a picture of slavery through the eyes of those enslaved or their captors, Lester's narrative evokes spiritual images of Mali's Dogon people. The story begins in Africa where the nyama, or life force, of a murdered spiritual leader is carried to America on a slave ship as a seed passed to his daughter through a kiss. The seed springs forth through the help of Lebe, the serpent, into the form of a young man, Ekundayo, whose mission is to bring peace to the growing numbers of spirits swarming chaotically over this new land. The creator god, in the form of a big bird, transports Ekundayo to Virginia in the body of a slave, Nathaniel, who secretly loves his master's daughter, Ellen, whom he's known since childhood and who taught him to read and write. As Nathaniel, Ekundayo learns the stories and tribulations of the slaves. He struggles to discover how he can bring peace to the dead he sees as gray fog hovering over the slave quarters. On the eve of the Civil War, Nathaniel/Ekundayo has visions of the dead who tell him the future as well as the past and he sets a course that will carry on for generations. This is a powerful novel for mature readers. It is fraught with sorrow, brutality, triumph, and joy. In the end, Lester projects hope that lost souls and forbidden relationships can find peace, acceptance, and happiness. Kathy Lehman, Thomas Dale High School Library, Chester, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-11. In his powerful historical fiction, Lester often confronts the harsh realism of slavery and imagines the personal experiences of his own ancestors. Now, in what he calls one of his "most autobiographical" stories, he draws on the Dogon religion of West Africa to create the tale of a nyama spirit of the dead, which he sets on the eve of the Civil War. Sent by the creator to America, the spirit inhabits the body of Nat, 17, who lives on a Virginia plantation. Nat's father hates all whites and leads a brutal uprising, but Nat has grown up with the master's daughter, Ellen, and they love each other (his father calls Nat "a white folks' nigger"). The spiritual stuff is sometimes confusing, including the tidy ending, in which Nat and Ellen, who is resurrected from the dead, are happy together in Africa. But Lester makes the history immediate while never denying the horrors of the roundups, the journey to America, and plantation life. Above all, the beautifully individualized characters reveal the lies of slavery. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product details

  • Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (March 21, 2006)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 230 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0374371784
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0374371784
  • Reading age : 14 years and up
  • Lexile measure : 870L
  • Grade level : 9 - 12
  • Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
  • Dimensions : 5.79 x 0.92 x 8.51 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 3 ratings

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