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In 1863, as the War Between the States creeps inevitably toward its bloody conclusion, former Kentucky slave Britt Johnson ventures west into unknown territory with his wife, Mary, and their three children, searching for a life and a future. But their dreams are abruptly shattered by a brutal Indian raid upon the Johnsons' settlement while Britt is away establishing a business. Returning to find his friends and neighbors slain or captured, his eldest son dead, his beloved and severely damaged Mary enslaved, and his remaining children absorbed into an alien society that will never relinquish its hold on them, the heartsick freedman vows not to rest until his family is whole again.
A soaring work of the imagination based on oral histories of the post-Civil War years in North Texas, Paulette Jiles's The Color of Lightning is at once an intimate look into the hearts and hopes of tragically flawed human beings and a courageous reexamination of a dark American history.
“A gripping, deeply relevant book.”
-New York Times Book Review on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“[A] meticulously researched and beautifully crafted story . . . this is glorious work.”
-Washington Post on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“Jiles’ spare and melancholy prose is the perfect language for this tale in which survival necessitates brutality.”
-Seattle Times on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“Jiles never reduces her cast of characters to stock stereotypes, tackling a traumatic and tragic episode in American history with sensitivity and assurance.”
-Booklist on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“Jiles is an ardent student of history, and through extensive research is able to reimagine life in post-Civil War Texas and create believable, multi-layered characters with remarkable verisimilitude.”
-San Antonio Express-News
“A rousing, character-driven tale.”
-Kirkus Reviews on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“Stick a thumb into any page of Paulette Jiles’s The Color of Lightning and you’ll pull out a fine prose plum.”
-Texas Monthly on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“A remarkably engaging story. . . . Jiles’s description is memorable and evocative.”
-Denver Post on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“Paulette Jiles has created a potent, harrowing story about real people with that genuine heroism that makes legendry pale by comparison....Jiles writes with an unerring poet’s touch.”
-Dallas Morning News on THE COLOR OF LIGHTNING
“Jiles colors... historical facts in prose that captures the imagination, allowing her audience to understand the diverse cultures struggling to coexist in this seemingly harsh land.”
-Historical Novels Review
“Elegiac in tone, the novel is ful of fierce, austere poetry, as well as hyms to the Texas landscape.”
-New York Times Book Review