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Roadwalkers

A Novel

by Shirley Ann Grau

Voices of the South

304 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / no illustrations

Fiction

  Paperback / 9780807129135 / July 2003

In her sixth novel, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Shirley Ann Grau weaves a tale of two black women that spans from 1934 to the present in a stunning display of “story-spinning power, odd mixtures of realistic fiction, fable, allegory, and parable, [and] the inevitability of surprise” (Library Journal). During the depression, Baby and her abandoned siblings are roadwalkers, homeless wanderers foraging for existence across the rural South. “Rescued” by a kindly white man and placed with nuns in New Orleans, Baby is renamed Mary Woods and grows up to find success as an imaginative dressmaker and painter. Her own daughter, Nanda, she raises at a protected, almost enchanted, remove from life until, in her teens, Nanda becomes the first black student at a private girls’ school in the East. Then she, like her mother before her, must find a way to survive alone in an alien world. Roadwalkers is a rich and wonderfully fresh evocation of the black experience in the South that challenges readers with its unanswered questions.

Shirley Ann Grau grew up in Louisiana and Alabama and now divides her time between Metairie--a suburb of New Orleans--and Martha's Vineyard. She is the author of three previous collections of stories and five novels, including The House on Coliseum Street,The Hard Blue Sky, and Roadwalkers.

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