Here at Book Festival HQ we’re lucky enough to have every book in the programme at our disposal. Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you some reviews of what us Book Festival folk have been reading. Today it’s The Raw Man by George Makana Clark...
‘I built my house from borrowed memory, every detail as it was described by Gordon long ago in the complete darkness, three miles beneath the earth.’
Sergeant Gordon is a white man from Scottish and African descendancy. He is a soldier, war criminal, prisoner, convicted pervert, and a raw man. He can also read a person’s history through their blood.
George Makana Clark’s haunting debut is a work which delves into the ritual of organic storytelling; storytelling not only as a means of resurrecting ones ancestral history and the memories of ones own past, but also as a device of confession and reconciliation. As the narrator recounts the stories of Gordon’s past (as told to him during the years of darkness they spent imprisoned in the guts of a copper mine), his own past is intertwined with that of his friend, as his friend’s memories had already interweaved with the lives of those whose blood he read.
The roots of the finished tale stretch deep into the territories of war, slavery, racism and violence, while desperately clinging onto the brighter aspects within everyday life: love, sex, family and friendships. All the while time ticks on like the rhythm of your heart ‘da diddly da dee da dee da dum’, ‘the women wail for their lost children’ and the roots of the mahogany tree grow deeper into the ancient earth. A powerful and life-consuming novel.