carolina red

4 Jan

CAROLINA RED
BY RAY SHELL
This is an important book. It is almost impossible to review because of the startling amount of content. It is a labour of love by a man who is infatuated by his Country. He takes on the persona of The Almighty to see the stories through His eyes. I quote his intro.

“I AM here. For a brief nanosecond. Nations of the world looked upon you, America, with envy and admiration…now 5 years later they quickly look away fearfully, sighing at the dissolution of your Obaman Hope and thinking ‘…maybe Enoch, was right: NO! WE CAN’T live together, love, help and respect each other…’ which reduces you, My USA, back to being Ugly Americans, resurrecting old, bullet-riddled, ‘Nigga’ bones and ancient, bloody, ‘Ofay’ rituals.”

This novel is a tremendous success in every way with Shell’s immense research into the historical background of Carolina State from the Abolition of Slavery until the modern-day of Donald Trump.
“Why Red? Red for the blood, Red for the Carolina mud, Red for the Native American skin, Red for the Republican state we live in. The American Dream that seems to have changed into the American Nightmare”.

It is probably the only book ever written by God. He looks down at the Sugar Hill, The largest plantation in Nashville, in rich, fertile North Carolina. The place that the Native Americans called The Green Place, saying “You can’t own what doesn’t belong to you”
It is two years since Slavery was abolished but Elijah Beauregard, master of Sugar Hill. Is not ready to free his slaves and pay them for building his plantation.
“I’LL NEVER GIVE THEM UP. I PAID GOOD MONEY FOR THEM BLACKS, THEY BELONG TO ME”
Anybody who argued with him about this was immediately shot and over fifty of his slaves had already been slaughtered for complaining including his most treasured blacksmith who he shot in the face. This was the beginning of the uprising of the slaves and the beginning of Shell’s Ancestry.
The second story in the first part of the book takes us to the world of brown people the native Americans sometimes called the Redskins. The Cherokees had discovered gold in Georgia and when the pale men found out they claimed the gold and drove the Cherokees away sending them on a trek to Oklahoma. it took 21 days, many died on the road, most were affected by the long walk.

The book continues with the lives of the people involved in two families Black white and red. So many names Isaiah Barnes, Pam, Clarke, Estella, Mookie, Lois, Laura, Toot, Malcom, Lana, Suga Lee
There are many long political discussions between the characters featuring Obama, Saunders, Trump and even The Pope. There is a mention of Bambi (Tony Blair) apologising for the war in Iraq. Much of the discussion is centred on Isis. Fox News seems to think that Obama has filled America with Muslims. But the Christians are still expecting Jesus to come and sort things out.
The first hero is a Cherokee born Isaiah Barnes. Kee-mop-hann or ”I bring Greatness”. He survived the white man’s pox and polio and was cured by White man’s medicine. He found that the Pale people were not all wicked, he made friends with them, was adopted by them and learned to speak the language. He is the father figure of the book and we follow his multiracial multi-cultural family through the ages.
Suga Lee runs the whorehouse in Nashville. It is much more than a Brothel. It is a place for relaxation, a pub, a restaurant and a place of entertainment. Some people are shocked by it, but most people go there. The whorehouse is set on fire by a White arsonist and 75 people die in the flames. The villain regrets it. “It was a cool place,” he says, “Wouldn’t be so bad if it was just nigras burnt up, dey was a heap of white folks too.” He resents the fact that he now must go to Starbucks for coffee.
The population of Nashville get around. They go abroad – they marry Englishmen. Clarke, for instance, who is unimpressed by New York. “Compared with the big Apple. London is a city of Modernity with a clean underground complex”, he says. The new Broadway sensation HAMILTON WITH Black folks playing White folks. $10,000 a ticket. “Could only happen in New York.”
There is drama as well as comedy. A shooting in Oregon. The killer is from Isis. He asked if they were Christian before he fired the gun. But The biggest drama concerns Estella and Mookie. Estella has decided to be a Muslim and she and her husband Mookie have gone over to Syria to join up with the Isis. The story, the thoughts and feelings of the Estella and Mookie are closely and completely written and are immensely effective.
They disappear and there is a search party run by a young senator. He is assisted in this by another young lawyer, Jake who is black. They are close friends from Harvard. As they are working on plans to find Estella and Mookie, they return to their old times and there is a beautifully written lyrical sex scene.
God records a bit of conversation but without comment, just a quotation.
Asked if she would again vote Republican Pam replied “There is some white boy gathering round robins from the pubs. I’m glad to be rid of it.”
“Donald Trump? The man is an idiot.”
“He leads the ballot polls”.
“Hitler led polls too. “
The book manages to deal with every aspect of life in the USA and the world. With red blood from Cherokee, the Black and the white man. All blood of the same colour.
This is a tour de force from a man who has attempted to see what the world looks like with the eyes of The Creator.

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