- By Ellen Douglas

Truth: Four Stories I Am Finally Old Enough to Tell

  • Title: Truth: Four Stories I Am Finally Old Enough to Tell
  • Author: Ellen Douglas
  • ISBN: 9781565122147
  • Page: 282
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Truth Four Stories I Am Finally Old Enough to Tell In four haunting family stories Ellen Douglas seeks to track down the truth about herself about her white Mississippi forebears about their relationships to black Mississippians and ultimately abo

    In four haunting family stories, Ellen Douglas seeks to track down the truth about herself, about her white Mississippi forebears, about their relationships to black Mississippians, and ultimately about their guilt as murderers of helpless slaves Progressively searching further and further back in time, each of these four family tales involves collusion and secrets In In four haunting family stories, Ellen Douglas seeks to track down the truth about herself, about her white Mississippi forebears, about their relationships to black Mississippians, and ultimately about their guilt as murderers of helpless slaves Progressively searching further and further back in time, each of these four family tales involves collusion and secrets In Grant, a randy old uncle dying in the author s house is nursed by a beautiful black woman while his white family watches from a respectful distance Who loves him better When truth is death, who is braver facing it In Julia and Nellie, very close cousins make a marriage in all but name back in the days of easy scandal The nature of the liaison never mentioned, the family waives its Presbyterian morality in the face of family deviance In Hampton, her grandmother s servant, who has constructed a world closed to whites, evades the author s tentative efforts at a meeting of minds And finally, in On Second Creek, Douglas confronts her obsession with the long lost or buried facts of the examination and execution of slaves who may or may not have plotted an uprising Having published fiction for four decades, here she crosses over into the mirror world of historical fact It s a book, she says, about remembering and forgetting, seeing and ignoring, lying and truth telling It s about secrets, judgments, threats, danger, and willful amnesia It s about the truth in fiction and the fiction in truth Praise for Ellen Douglas It s possible to think that some people were simply born to write Ellen Douglas is just such a writer Richard Ford Proust wrote in one of his last letters, one must never be afraid of going too far, for the truth is beyond Ellen Douglas has taken this very much to heart and has sought the truth in a region beyond falsehood through falsehood, in effect It s a fascinating performance Shelby Foote.

    1 thought on “Truth: Four Stories I Am Finally Old Enough to Tell

    1. This book of four stories is a history of the south again. She is grappling with the issues America has yet to address about racism. I applaud her writing. (I actually own the paperback, not the hard cover book)

    2. This book deserves the worst review I can give it. The title offends me “TRUTH”, ha! It is total fiction. My grandmother was Eliza Martin. She and her family figure prominently in the story entitled “On Second Creek”. Ellen Douglas, real name, Josephine Ayers Haxton’s goal was to depict a racially conflicted south and use my grandmother to try and give her story a veil of truth it did not deserve. My grandmother was born in Natchez Mississippi in 1896. She died in 1994. She graduated f [...]

    3. The concept was interesting; an author goes public with the "truths" behind the novels she's written, now that she's outlived all the family and other members of the community who might object to her revealing the stories she's picked up from them. Unfortunately, her focus on strict truth-telling limits her story-telling, since most of the "truths" she's telling are fragmentary by their very nature--for instance, her grandfather's suicide, a rarely-discussed family secret about which she never d [...]

    4. "Julia and Nellie", about the author's attempt to imagine the lives of her grandmother and other women of her generation, is diffuse and rambling in structure; the author chose to tell it rather as she pieced her knowledge together, in snatches. Both it and the preceding essay, "Grant", give a sharp sense of the people and the society, in spite of Douglas constantly foregrounding her own uncertainty about these stories -- or maybe because of it? Douglas is concerned to say no more than she knows [...]

    5. The author, Ellen Douglas, described this book as "about remembering and forgetting, seeing and ignoring willful amnesia the truth in fiction and the fiction in "truth.'" I love fiction that probes established family history in search of an underlying truth, and how history (family or otherwise), once you get past the "known facts," is in a real sense an invention, whether written by the victors or told by a great-aunt. I am reminded of a quote attributed to Nietzsche: There are no facts, only i [...]

    6. Before finding this book, I'd never heard of this southern author, who apparently draws heavily from her long family history for her fiction. I chose the book from the biography shelves based on the lovely snippet of prose on the back cover. Part memoir, part contemplative musings, partly an exploration of southern history and a southern family's historya dense, lush, marvelous reading experience! Lovely writing, and beautifully puzzling in its construction. I loved this book so much, I will lik [...]

    7. In this collection, Ms Douglas explores the relationship between memory and truth. It is a challenging read at times, due to the fragmentary quality of memory itself. But it is definitely worth the effort. The author is especially interested in the gaps, the silences, the things that cannot be known about past events. As she details these gaps and curiosities, she deftly teases and blurs the assumed line between fiction and non.

    8. catchy title got me. Novelist telling stories of her Southern ancestors that apparently served as inspiration for her novels. However, her style remains that of a novelist, and the type of novelist who stops me from reading (almost) any novels. Lots of boring, wordy scene-setting in between anything happening.

    9. a somewhat uneven collection, but very atmospheric and attentive to human character; will read more by this author

    10. Tales of the South: Ellen Douglas digs up her ancestors, her words heavy with the weight of their deeds, yet detached enough to examine them.

    11. The stories rambled and there were elements of each that made me understand why she couldn't write these things while older family members were still alive. Not as good as I had hoped.

    12. Somewhat difficult to follow but worth it.She is such a wonderful writer. I've been in a couple of the old mansions in Natchez she mentions.

    13. I read two of the four stories. They aren't bad, but they aren't what I was hoping to get. They are more like the standard southern novel stories.

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