El pájaro carpintero / The Good Lord Bird

El pájaro carpintero / The Good Lord Bird

by James McBride

Narrated by Not Yet Available

Unabridged

El pájaro carpintero / The Good Lord Bird

El pájaro carpintero / The Good Lord Bird

by James McBride

Narrated by Not Yet Available

Unabridged

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Overview

"Nací y fui un hombre de color, no lo olvidéis, pero viví como una mujer de color durante diecisiete años."

Henry Cebolla Shackleton es un pícaro niño esclavo en cuyo camino se cruza el legendario abolicionista John Brown, «el más americano de todos nosotros», en palabras de Henry David Thoreau; «el hijoputa asesino más infame y retorcío que jamás hayáis visto», a ojos del Cebolla. Comienza así la hilarante autobiografía de Henry, envuelto contra su voluntad en la cruzada antiesclavista del ejército de John Brown y obligado a hacerse pasar por una niña para sobrevivir. Una aventura libertadora de incierto resultado junto a un líder mesiánico, de quien los negros del Sur huyen porque prefieren la tranquilidad de sus tres comidas al día en casa del amo.

McBride ganó el National Book Award con esta inteligente, audaz y sorprendentemente profunda comedia que indaga sobre la capacidad del ser humano para adaptarse y actuar según lo que considera correcto.

ENGLISH DESCRIPTION

Now a Showtime limited series starring Ethan Hawke and Daveed Diggs

Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction

From the bestselling author of Deacon King Kong (an Oprah Book Club pick) and The Color of Water comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown's antislavery crusade-and who must pass as a girl to survive.


Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1856--a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces--when legendary abolitionist John Brown arrives. When an argument between Brown and Henry's master turns violent, Henry is forced to leave town--along with Brown, who believes Henry to be a girl and his good luck charm.

Over the ensuing months, Henry, whom Brown nicknames Little Onion, conceals his true identity to stay alive. Eventually Brown sweeps him into the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859--one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride's meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Baz Dreisinger

…a magnificent…brilliant romp of a novel about [John] Brown…McBride—with the same flair for historical mining, musicality of voice and outsize characterization that made his memoir, The Color of Water, an instant classic—pulls off his portrait masterfully, like a modern-day Mark Twain: evoking sheer glee with every page…McBride sanctifies by humanizing; a larger-than-life warrior lands—warts, foibles, absurdities and all—right here on earth, where he's a far more accessible friend…In [McBride's] hands, John Brown is a wild and crazy old man—and more a hero than ever before.

Publishers Weekly

Musician and author McBride offers a fresh perspective on abolitionist firebrand John Brown in this novel disguised as the memoir of a slave boy who pretends to be a girl in order to escape pre–Civil War turmoil, only to find himself riding with John Brown’s retinue of rabble-rousers from Bloody Kansas to Harpers Ferry. “I was born a colored man and don’t you forget it,” reminisces Henry Shackleford in a manuscript discovered after a church fire in the 1960s. Speaking in his own savvy yet naïve voice, Henry recounts how, at age 10, his curly hair, soft features, and potato-sack dress cause him to be mistaken for a girl—a mistake he embraces for safety’s sake, even as he is reluctantly swept up by Brown’s violent, chaotic, determined, frustrated, and frustrating efforts to oppose slavery. A mix-up over the meaning of the word “trim” temporarily lands Henry/Henrietta in a brothel before he rejoins Brown and sons, who call him “Onion,” their good-luck charm. Onion eventually meets Frederick Douglass, a great man but a flawed human being, Harriet Tubman, silent, terrible, and strong. Even more memorable is the slave girl Sibonia, who courageously dies for freedom. At Harpers Ferry, Onion is given the futile task of rousting up slaves (“hiving bees”) to participate in the great armed insurrection that Brown envisions but never sees. Outrageously funny, sad, and consistently unflattering, McBride puts a human face on a nation at its most divided. Agent: Flip Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Aug.)

NPR.org

It takes a daring writer to tackle a decidedly unflattering pre-Civil War story. Yet, in McBride's capable hands, the indelicate matter of a befuddled tween from the mid-19th century provides a new perspective on one of the most decisive periods in the history of this country.

Seattle Times

James McBride made a gutsy decision when he chose to retell the rather tragic story of John Brown's failed slave rebellion at Harpers Ferry, Va., in 1859 as a historical romp with a gender-bending male slave as the great abolitionist's sidekick. The resulting new novel, The Good Lord Bird, is not only an irrepressibly fun read, but an iconoclastic exploration of a period in American history, the antebellum slave era, that we tend to handle with kid gloves.

New York Times Book Review

A MAGNIFICANT NEW NOVEL by the best-selling author James McBride…a brilliant romp of a novel…McBride—with the same flair for historical mining, musicality of voice and outsize characterization that made his memoir 'The Color of Water,' an instant classic -- pulls off his portrait masterfully, like a modern-day Mark Twain: evoking sheer glee with every page.

San Francisco Chronicle

ABSORBING AND DARKLY FUNNY…at heart, the novel is an homage to a complex and fascinating American hero and a superbly inventive retelling of an American tale.

Chicago Tribune

A SUPERBLY WRITTEN NOVEL… Through crackling prose and smart, wryly humorous dialogue, McBride tells his story through the eyes of the slave Henry Shackleford, who as a young boy is kidnapped by Brown during one of his Kansas raids. Wrapping the ugliness of slavery in a pitch-perfect adventure story is more than just a reimagining of an historic event. McBride, as he did in Song Yet Sung and Miracle at St. Anna, transcends history and makes it come alive.

From the Publisher

Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction

Winner of the Morning News Tournament of Books

"A brilliant romp of a novel…McBride…pulls off his portrait masterfully, like a modern-day Mark Twain." —The New York Times Book Review

"You may know the story of John Brown's unsuccessful raid on Harpers Ferry, but author James McBride's retelling of the events leading up to it is so imaginative, you'll race to the finish."—NPR

"A boisterous, highly entertaining, altogether original novel ...There is something deeply humane in this [story], something akin to the work of Homer or Mark Twain.” —The Washington Post 

“Wildly entertaining… a rollicking saga about one of America’s earliest abolitionists.” —People
 
"McBride delivers another tour de force...A fascinating mix of history and mystery."—Essence

"A story that's difficult to put down."—Ebony

“Outrageously entertaining… rockets toward its inevitable and, yes, knee-slapping conclusion. Never has mayhem been this much of a humdinger.” —USA Today

“An impressively deep comedy.”—Salon “Both breezy and sharp, a rare combination outside of Twain. You should absolutely read it.” —New York Magazine

"Superbly written....McBride...transcends history and makes it come alive."—The Chicago Tribune

"Absorbing and darkly funny."—San Francisco Chronicle

"An irrepressibly fun read."—The Seattle Times

"The Good Lord Bird is just so brilliant. It had everything I want in a novel and left me feeling both transported and transformed."—John Green 

"[McBride's] effervescent young narrator is pitch-perfect and wholly original."—Geraldine Brooks

Library Journal

In the turbulent times just before the Civil War, abolitionist John Brown visits the Kansas Territories to free the slaves. In the midst of a gunfight between slave owner Dutch Henry and Brown, a young slave named Henry Shackleford watches his father die. Now freed and under the protection of the wily abolitionist, who mistakes the ten-year-old boy dressed in a potato sack for a girl, Henry maintains this feminine guise as he rides with Brown and his band of volunteers. After becoming separated during a skirmish, Henry finds himself in a Missouri brothel only to rejoin Brown’s ragtag group two years later. Brown takes Henry on a fundraising tour back East, meeting with other abolitionists including Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. Despite John Brown’s reputation for violence, Henry discovers an old man whose intense passion for the abolitionist cause tends to overrule common sense, proving disastrously detrimental as they travel to Harpers Ferry in 1859.

Verdict With its colorful characters caught in tragic situations, McBride's (The Color of Water; Song Yet Sung; Miracle at St. Anna) faux memoir, narrated by Henry, presents a larger-than-life slice of an icon of American history with the author's own particular twist. [See Prepub Alert, 2/25/13.]—Joy Gunn, Paseo Verde Lib., Henderson, NV
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews

In McBride's version of events, John Brown's body doesn't lie a-mouldering in the grave--he's alive and vigorous and fanatical and doomed, so one could say his soul does indeed go marching on. The unlikely narrator of the events leading up to Brown's quixotic raid at Harper's Ferry is Henry Shackleford, aka Little Onion, whose father is killed when Brown comes in to liberate some slaves. Brown whisks the 12-year-old away thinking he's a girl, and Onion keeps up the disguise for the next few years. This fluidity of gender identity allows Onion a certain leeway in his life, for example, he gets taken in by Pie, a beautiful prostitute, where he witnesses some activity almost more unseemly than a 12-year-old can stand. The interlude with Pie occurs during a two-year period where Brown disappears from Onion's life, but they're reunited a few months before the debacle at Harper's Ferry. In that time, Brown visits Frederick Douglass, and, in the most implausible scene in the novel, Douglass gets tight and chases after the nubile Onion. The stakes are raised as Brown approaches October 1859, for even Onion recognizes the futility of the raid, where Brown expects hundreds of slaves to rise in revolt and gets only a handful. Onion notes that Brown's fanaticism increasingly approaches "lunacy" as the time for the raid gets closer, and Brown never loses that obsessive glint in his eye that tells him he's doing the Lord's work. At the end, Onion reasserts his identity as a male and escapes just before Brown's execution. McBride presents an interesting experiment in point of view here, as all of Brown's activities are filtered through the eyes of a young adolescent who wavers between innocence and cynicism.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940175199049
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 06/04/2024
Edition description: Unabridged
Language: Spanish
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