Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Book Club: The Wind Done Gone

I got a copy of The Wind Done Gone by Alice Randall and am a ways into it.  This is a re-telling of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind.  I haven't read this book, so it's hard to make some of the connections.  Randall's main character Cynara, or Cindy, or Cinnamon was born a slave to the character of Mammy (same in the book and the film).  The books appears to take place after the war, after the death of Scarlett and Rhett's daughter, and after Reconstruction.  The characters most of us know by name are given pseudonyms, and it takes a little while to get it all straight. Mammy is Mammy, Rhett is R., Scarlett is Other.  I still have not made connections between some characters in the book and the ones I know from the film, and I'm not sure if that's because I haven't read Mitchell's novel.

[I now see I could easily figure it out from the wikipedia entry, but now I feel lazy.]

The main character does not have a parallel in Mitchell's novel.  There is no point you can attach her to to fill out her character.  She is one of the many unnamed children that may have gone hungry when their mothers were separated from them, to wet-nurse for whites' children.  Through her eyes we see the other side of Tara that the film's romanticized and racist version doesn't show.

This isn't just a retelling, but goes on with the story after reconstruction.  You see Cynara, once a slave of Tara, in her own house in an Atlanta neighborhood, visited often by her lover, R.  The book so far deals with the relationship between Cynara and her mother, Mammy.  How does Other (Scarlett) fit into this?  She and Cynara have the same father, and are thus half-sisters.  Mammy is Other's caretaker, and her relationship with Other is what hurts Cynara the most.  The rivalry between Cynara and Scarlett has little to do with the fact they share a lover-- it's mother's love that is held so dear.

I'm looking forward to finishing this book, which is a pretty fast read.  It's very lyrical and wandering, to the point that I didn't care that I had no idea who the characters were yet, because it was just so beautiful to read.

Want to join the Summer Book Club?  Scoot on over to Freeze Dried and check it out.

Blogs talkin' about The Wind Done Gone:
Racialicious  *  Race Matters *  Dar Kush  * Everything and Nothing

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