The Darkest Child
Random House, Inc.
“Evil’s regenerative powers and one girl’s fierce resistance. . . . A book that deserves a wide audience.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Filled with grand plot events and clearly identifiable villains and victims . . . lush with detail and captivating with its story of racial tension and family violence.”—The Washington Post Book World
“[An] exceptional debut novel. . . . [Has] a depth and dimension not often characteristic of a first novel.”—Library Journal (starred)
“Phillips writes with a no-nonsense elegance. . . . As a vision of African-American life, The Darkest Child is one of the harshest novels to arrive in many years. . . . [Phillips] buttresses those harsh episodes with a depth of characterization worthy of Chekhov, pitch-perfect dialogue, and a profound knowledge of the segregated South in the ’50s.”—The New Leader
Rozelle Quinn is so fair-skinned that she can pass for white. Her ten children are mostly light, too. They constitute the only world she rules and controls. Her power over them is all she has in an otherwise cruel and uncaring universe.
Rozelle favors her light-skinned kids, but Tangy Mae, 13, her darkest-complected child, is the brightest. She desperately wants to continue with her education. Her mother, however, has other plans. Rozelle wants her daughter to work cleaning houses for whites, like she does, and accompany her to the “Farmhouse,” where Rozelle earns extra money bedding men. Tangy Mae, she’s decided, is of age.
This is the story from an era when life’s possibilities for an African-American were unimaginably different.
Delores Phillips was born in Bartow County, Georgia in 1950, the second of four children. She graduated from Cleveland State University with a bachelor of arts in English and works as a nurse at a state psychiatric hospital. Her work has appeared in Jean’s Journal, Black Times, and The Crisis. She has lived in Cleveland, Ohio since 1964.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Baker & Taylor
Fourteen-year-old Tangy Mae tells of the brutal physical and mental abuse that her mother inflicts on her and her ten siblings.
Blackwell North Amer
Rozelle Quinn is so fair-skinned that she can pass for white. Her ten children are mostly light, too. Everyone in the small Georgia town in which she lives knows that they have different fathers. She favors her light children, but it is Tangy Mae, the darkest of them all, who is the brightest and the only one desperate to get an education. Even in rural Pakersfield they have heard of the Supreme Court's recent ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, though they are in no hurry to comply with it.
Rozelle wants thirteen-year-old Tangy Mae to take over her jobs: days, doing house cleaning for whites; nights, servicing men, white and black, at the "Farmhouse." And Rozelle is not a woman whose commands can lightly be ignored. She is a creature of moods, possessive of all her children, desperate for their love, demanding of utter loyalty and obedience, harshly repressive of any signs of independence. They are the only thing in her life that she can control.
The Darkest Child shows us a world misshapen by years of oppression in which family is powerful yet offers little kindness or comfort. It shows us a world in which attitudes of prejudice have been adopted by its victim, and the resulting struggle of those who are darker complected is a struggle not only against outsiders, but against the closest of kin.
New York : Soho Press, c2004
387 p. ; 22 cm