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They Tell Me of a Home : Tommy Lee Tyson - Daniel Black

They Tell Me of a Home

Tommy Lee Tyson

Paperback Published: 5th September 2000
ISBN: 9780312362836
Number Of Pages: 335

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Twenty-eight-year-old protagonist Tommy Lee Tyson steps off the Greyhound bus in his hometown of Swamp Creek, Arkansas--a place he left when he was eighteen, vowing never to return. Yet fate and a Ph.D. in black studies force him back to his rural origins as he seeks to understand himself and the black community that produced him. A cold, nonchalant father and an emotionally indifferent mother make his return, after a ten-year hiatus, practically unbearable, and the discovery of his baby sister's death and her burial in the backyard almost consumes him. His mother watches his agony when he discovers his sister's tombstone, but neither she nor other family members is willing to disclose the secret of her death. Only after being prodded incessantly does his older brother, Willie James, relent and provide Tommy Lee with enough knowledge to figure out exactly what happened and why. Meanwhile, Tommy's seventy-year-old teacher--lying on her deathbed--asks him to remain in Swamp Creek and assume her position as the headmaster of the one-room schoolhouse. He refuses vehemently and she dies having bequeathed him her five thousand-book collection in the hopes that he will change his mind. Over the course of a one-week visit, riddled with tension, heartache, and revelation, Tommy Lee Tyson discovers truths about his family, his community, and his undeniable connection to rural Southern black folk and their ways.
As an associate professor of African American Studies at Clark College, Daniel Omotosho Black aims to provide an example to young African Americans of the importance of self-knowledge and communal commitment. He is the founder of the Nzinga-Ndugu rites of passage (or initiation) society--a group whose focus is instilling principle and character in the lives of African-American youth. Twenty-eight-year-old protagonist Tommy Lee Tyson steps off the Greyhound bus in his hometown of Swamp Creek, Arkansas--a place he left when he was eighteen, vowing never to return. Yet fate and a Ph.D. in black studies force him back to his rural origins as he seeks to understand himself and the black community that produced him. A cold, nonchalant father and an emotionally indifferent mother make his return, after a ten-year hiatus, practically unbearable, and the discovery of his baby sister's death and her burial in the backyard almost consumes him. His mother watches his agony when he discovers his sister's tombstone, but neither she nor other family members is willing to disclose the secret of her death. Only after being prodded incessantly does his older brother, Willie James, relent and provide Tommy Lee with enough knowledge to figure out exactly what happened and why. Meanwhile, Tommy's seventy-year-old teacher--lying on her deathbed--asks him to remain in Swamp Creek and assume her position as the headmaster of the one-room schoolhouse. He refuses vehemently and she dies having bequeathed him her five thousand-book collection in the hopes that he will change his mind. Over the course of a one-week visit, riddled with tension, heartache, and revelation, Tommy Lee Tyson discovers truths about his family, his community, and his undeniable connection to rural Southern black folk and their ways. " A] powerful debut novel of Daniel Black . . . Readers are taken on a spellbinding journey through suffering and redemption through language that celebrates the wonders and struggles of African American life in the South. Like Zora Neale Hurston and Ernest J. Gaines, Black is the consummate storyteller. His inimitable literary voice weds the sacred and profane, the lettered and unlettered, calling us to explore the best and worst in the human condition."--Jeffrey B. Leak, "The Charlotte Observer" "The brilliantly told lesson we learn in reading Daniel Black's thrilling literary debut is that the power of unspoken love can carry us through life and that resentment, hate, and anger do not ultimately triumph over the will to embrace family, no matter how flawed. "They Tell Me of a Home" is laced with folkloric humor, mystery, and jaw-dropping surprises that prove that home may not be where the heart is, but it is surely where we must journey to know our true selves. Daniel Black wields a powerful pen, a sharp eye, and muscular prose in giving us a memorable, even haunting story of the ties that bind."--Michael Eric Dyson, author of "Is Bill Cosby Right? "and "Come Hell of High Water" ""They Tell Me of a Home" is a wonderful novel There is skill. Grace. Humor. Joy. In the writing. In the telling. I saw, heard, history and herstory, and I saw how important this book is for our community. Welcome, my brother, to the telling of our communal home." --Sonia Sanchez, author of "Shake Loose My Skin" "I laughed, cried, prayed, sang, mourned, rejoiced . . . I lived in the pages of "They Tell Me of a Home." If ever we needed to chart our way Home, this is about as close as we'll ever get. Every traveler will hold fast to this home-going road map Daniel Omotosho Black has penned a fiction that pierces almost every portal to what is real, reminding us that fine distinctions are not only blurred; we begin to ask why we pretend there is any difference between what we know is real and imagine isn't. Mr. Black has written life's great parable Go Home . . . and find yourself along the way."--Jeffrey Lynn Woodyard, Ph.D. "Thomas Lee Tyson returns to Swamp Creek, Arkansas, after a 10-year absence. T. L. left as an emotionally abused adolescent off to get a college degree but returns as a self-assured, newly minted Ph.D. on the verge of a career as a professor of African American history. After 10 years of no communication with his family, he expects to renew his deep love for his younger sister and perhaps rescue her from the stultifying atmosphere of the small town. But he learns that his beloved sister died mysteriously some years earlier and is buried in the backyard. His tortured reunion with his emotionally distant father,

Industry Reviews

"The brilliantly told lesson we learn in reading Daniel Black's thrilling literary debut is that the power of unspoken love can carry us through life and that resentment, hate, and anger do not ultimately triumph over the will to embrace family, no matter how flawed. They Tell Me of a Home is laced with folkloric humor, mystery, and jaw-dropping surprises that prove that home may not be where the heart is, but it is surely where we must journey to know our true selves. Daniel Black wields a powerful pen, a sharp eye, and muscular prose in giving us a memorable, even haunting story of the ties that bind." --Michael Eric Dyson

"They Tell Me of a Home is a wonderful novel! There is skill. Grace. Humor. Joy. In the writing. In the telling. I saw, heard, history and herstory, and I saw how important this book is for our community. Welcome, my brother, to the telling of our communal home." --Sonia Sanchez

"I laughed, cried, prayed, sang, mourned, rejoiced.... I lived in the pages of They Tell Me of a Home. If ever we needed to chart our way Home, this is about as close as we'll ever get. Every traveler will hold fast to this home-going road map! Daniel Omotosho Black has penned a fiction that pierces almost every portal to what is real, reminding us that fine distinctions are not only blurred; we begin to ask why we pretend there is any difference between what we know is real and imagine isn't. Mr. Black has written life's great parable! Go Home...and find yourself along the way." --Jeffrey Lynn Woodyard

ISBN: 9780312362836
ISBN-10: 0312362838
Series: Tommy Lee Tyson
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 335
Published: 5th September 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.34 x 13.97  x 2.03
Weight (kg): 0.43
Edition Type: New edition

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