Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings #2020

Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings By Stephen O'Connor Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings Dazzling The most revolutionary reimagining of Jefferson s life ever Ron Charles Washington PostLonglisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel PrizeA debut novel about Thomas Jefferson and Sa
  • Title: Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings
  • Author: Stephen O'Connor
  • ISBN: -
  • Page: 308
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings By Stephen O'Connor Dazzling The most revolutionary reimagining of Jefferson s life ever Ron Charles, Washington PostLonglisted for the 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel PrizeA debut novel about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, in whose story the conflict between the American ideal of equality and the realities of slavery and racism played out in the most tragic of terms Novel Dazzling The most revolutionary reimagining of Jefferson s life ever Ron Charles, Washington PostLonglisted for the 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel PrizeA debut novel about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, in whose story the conflict between the American ideal of equality and the realities of slavery and racism played out in the most tragic of terms Novels such as Toni Morrison s Beloved, The Known World by Edward P Jones, James McBride s The Good Lord Bird and Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks are a part of a long tradition of American fiction that plumbs the moral and human costs of history in ways that nonfiction simply can t Now Stephen O Connor joins this company with a profoundly original exploration of the many ways that the institution of slavery warped the human soul, as seen through the story of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings O Connor s protagonists are rendered via scrupulously researched scenes of their lives in Paris and at Monticello that alternate with a harrowing memoir written by Hemings after Jefferson s death, as well as with dreamlike sequences in which Jefferson watches a movie about his life, Hemings fabricates an invention that becomes the whole world, and they run into each other after an unimaginable length of time on the New York City subway O Connor is unsparing in his rendition of the hypocrisy of the Founding Father and slaveholder who wrote all men are created equal, while enabling Hemings to tell her story in a way history has not allowed her to His important and beautifully written novel is a deep moral reckoning, a story about the search for justice, freedom and an ideal world and about the survival of hope even in the midst of catastrophe.From the Hardcover edition.
    Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings By Stephen O'Connor
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      Published :2020-01-11T14:48:22+00:00

    About "Stephen O'Connor"

    1. Stephen O'Connor

      STEPHEN OCONNOR is the author of two collections of short fiction, Rescue and Here Comes Another Lesson, and of two works of nonfiction, Will My Name Be Shouted Out , a memoir, and Orphan Trains The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed, narrative history His fiction and poetry have appeared in The New Yorker, Conjunctions, TriQuarterly, Threepenny Review, Poetry Magazine, The Missouri Review, The Quarterly, Partisan Review, The Massachusetts Review, Fiction International, and many other places His essays and journalism have been published in The New York Times, DoubleTake, The Nation, Agni, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The New Labor Forum, and elsewhere He is a recipient of the Cornell Woolrich Fellowship in Creative Writing from Columbia University the Visiting Fellowship for Historical Research by Artists and Writers from the American Antiquarian Society and the DeWitt Wallace Readers Digest Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony He lives in New York City and teaches fiction and nonfiction writing in the MFA programs of Columbia and Sarah Lawrence.For additional information, please visit stephenoconnor

    968 thoughts on “Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings”

    1. And now comes the most revolutionary reimagining of Jefferson s life ever a colossal postmodern novel that s often baffling, possibly offensive and frequently bizarre In fact, its prognosis for popular success is so bleak that it s something of a miracle it made it into print But what a dazzling experience this book is for the intrepid reader Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings is no mere retelling of the scandal at Monticello or Hemings s secret life or Jefferson s service in Paris and Was [...]


    2. Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings is truly unlike anything I have ever read O Connor has freed himself from the confines of history to create an epic fever dream of a novel, one that spans time, space, and form to portray the most complex and uncomfortable realities of American slavery through Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings relationship It humanizes without absolving, it challenges without demonizing, and it gives us no easy answers because there aren t any to be had A remarkable debu [...]


    3. If ever a book needed a half star, this is it I would have given it 3.5 The book is fascinating in its way, and the subject matter is so intriguing that it is impossible not to be drawn in On the other hand, it is just weird Yes, I know that is a stylistic choice I don t mind the dream sequences and I m not so old fashioned that I can t take a little post modernism thrown in But some of the fragments really take away from the flow of the story Perhaps that is the intent, but if so that style is [...]


    4. And maybe a half star extra for the structure, which I liked quite a bit It is a pretty book, written about a not so pretty fact of history, which the author tries his best to prettify And I m not sure how I feel about that The idea is to present a history of Thomas Jefferson and his possible, certainly talked about slave concubine Sally Hemings and reconciling what Thomas Jefferson wrote about slavery he was against it in theory with the man s actions he owned hundreds, and while he treated the [...]


    5. In this meticulously researched and exquisitely deconstructed narrative, novelist and historian Stephen O Connor views the life and work of the great American architect of personal liberty through the prism of his relationship with Sally Hemings, a woman he considered his rightful possession This paradox strikes at the heart of our national identity, and while he doesn t make it make sense, O Connor does manage to define it in a way that seems plausible, empathetic, and almost but not quite comp [...]


    6. What an amazing book Historical writings blended with historical fiction blended with fantastical urban dreaming, this book presents the contradiction of Jefferson, as well as the facts around question of his 37 year relationship with Sally Hemings Raises questions than it answers, which it the way I like it Very lyrical, too, which is always a bonus.


    7. Outlandish and audacious Filled with morally complex people and with strange dreams and scenes that are wildly imaginative Thomas Jefferson is an ape in a zoo Thomas Jefferson is watching a movie with James and Dolley Madison Thomas Jefferson is riding a subway Sally Hemings tells her own story here as well and it is heartbreaking This just scratches the surface It s almost unbelievable that this wild ride works at all but it does, and it does so marvelously and peculiarly and addictively.


    8. This is literally slavery with rape at the for front I don t care if the writing made you cry The guy owned her and everyone wants to say it was consensual This is why rape victims suffer today This is why you have ignorant people walking around today saying slavery never hapend Dufuq


    9. This book is a big, shapeless, unwieldy mess I think there s something admirable in the attempt to write it, and I think O Connor has worked hard at getting into Thomas Jefferson s and Sally Hemings s heads, as well as into the eighteenth century zeitgeist, in an attempt to understand how they understood their I don t even know what to call it, since relationship seems laughably inadequate to describe whatever this was.I do think it s fair to O Connor to point out that he is very clear that at t [...]


    10. What a bizarre but engaging novel O Connor takes a large helping of well research historical fiction and seasons it with various postmodern interludes a prisoner presumably Jefferson being harassed by his guard, various people wandering around inside Jefferson s body, Jefferson seeing Sally Hemings on the subway in modern New York To be honest, I didn t quite know what to make of those sections, but they did serve the purpose of giving the author another angle from which to consider his theme.Ob [...]


    11. Good read, interesting take on historical fiction, well researched Tells the Hemings Jefferson story, from the quite well documented, yet lacking, Jefferson perspective, while adding in the missing from the history books Hemings side of his life Does a good job speculating on how Miss Sally Hemings felt about her life as Thomas Jefferson s partner, her thoughts, interactions, observations, joys and pains Since very little was actually written about her during that time, except by Jefferson s pol [...]


    12. This is one of the most unique books I have ever read listened toI think it would make for good discussion doubt many would hate the dream sequences, the surreal flash backs between Monticello and modern day urban living, including seeing Jefferson and Sally at an art exhibit, on the subway, camping in the woods, etc and many would love its diversity I am somewhere in between intrigued, entertained, amused The author definitely took liberties in his portrayal of the characters, especially Sally [...]


    13. This novel is a baffling, pretentious misfire O Connor adopts a bizarre pointillist approach to depicting Thomas Jefferson s affair with slave Sally Hemings, with bite sized chapters in a variety of clashing styles Some chapters are straight narrative sketching key moments in its protagonists lives, others are fantasy or dream sequences whose reality is open to question The novel falls down when digressing into empty headed, faux philosophical musings Jefferson s ghost watching a movie of his li [...]


    14. I m giving this Stephen O Connor s novel a 3 simply because I m not at all sure what I think about it I like historical fiction I agree that the founding fathers should be characterized with all their flaws There s a lot about postmodern fiction I find useful You d think I would be unambiguously crazy about this book But I m still thinking about it, trying to decide.If you re looking for historical fiction in the vein of Phillippa Gregory or even Sharon Kay Penman, this is NOT THE BOOK FOR YOU T [...]


    15. Five damn stars.I don t know where to start I don t even do reviews but I had to saymething I picked up this book thinking it would be a hostile, windswept, love gone bad in the style of Wide Sargasso Sea, but then I started reading And kept reading.It s 600 pages but smoothly paced and full of white space, so it does go quickly The individual entries not sure if some of them are long enough to be called chapters seldom break six pages each, encouraging binge reading The present tense throughout [...]


    16. Overall, I d say that the way Stephen O Connor chose to tell this story was very ambitious, and for the most part entertaining The narrative is very free flowing, and at it s best captures a variety of forms that prose can take, from the poetic stylings to the grounded There are dreamy scenes where time and history can be examined or analyzed, and bizarre fantastical scenes mixing humor with anger or shame, mixing real life and imaginations of what might ve been All done to try and figure out [...]


    17. I hope I don t sound like an apologist by saying this is a really well written book I didn t really care for the post modern stuff I, frankly, felt that the vast majority of it was unnecessary, including the Sally Hemings contraption pieces, the Jefferson ape piece The actual narrative was written well Obviously well researched, there were wonderful details about Jefferson s life written.BUT seems like O Connor says he puts a certain amount of things in play in terms of racism and the master sl [...]


    18. I finished this book a few months ago and have been meaning to comment on it ever since Luckily, it s the kind of book that stays with you for a long time beautifully written, vividly imagined, full of heart and humanity, and unforgettable scenes Thomas Jefferson as a child, Jefferson as a socially awkward politician, as a rapist, as an elderly narcissistic man, as a flawed human being full of contradictions cruel, shallow, conniving, yet also generous, wise, inventive Stephen O Connor does a be [...]


    19. So I m going to make this short This book is a fictional historical narrative somewhat linear, I suppose about the relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson It s unique and the writing style is very compelling and imagistic I think the book s strong point is that it really tries to capture the emotion of such a paradoxical affair Plus the stuff with TJ watching his own life in a movie was pretty cool.The problems that I had with it were mostly that I wasn t sure what it was suppose [...]


    20. This is a disappointing book I have read several books about Jefferson and many of the things he wrote including several of his personal letters I have made many visits to Monticello I looked forward to this book as a potential glimpse into his personal life regarding Sally Hemings.However, this book just joins the current group of Jefferson bashers It makes a lot of unfounded statements such as those disparaging Jefferson s wife While excuses can be made since this is fiction, I could find noth [...]


    21. Wow Imaginative, ambitious and highly original I can t say that I loved every bit of it or even really followed some of it but overall this was a great reading experience and an incredible accomplishment for a debut author Takes a bit of concentration, but was one of those books that I just wanted to take to a quiet corner and pass the day with Will not be to every reader s taste, but worked for me.



    22. Best book yet of 2017 for me I loved the nuances of Sally s changing feelings within the relationship I was deeply affected by their strong commitment to each other over time and how they both hid from their realities and anguished within the political constructs of their time Jefferson s hypocrisy was somewhat assuaged by his personality and some of the smaller decisions he made to protect certain slave families on his plantation as well as his lofty principles in his public writings.Memorable [...]


    23. This book is a tour de force in terms of creativity of storytelling As a writer, I found the craftsmanship inspiring As a reader, I found the story that s told in such an original fashion to be powerful and personal Strangely, I found myself reading a great deal of it aloud, which is not something I normally do The prose is gorgeous but it s also very immediate, and it was if I wanted to be in it not just looking at it.The story itself is a dicey one as most know So little actual fact exists on [...]


    24. If I could give this book 3.5 stars, I would I enjoyed the author s take on the relationship between Jefferson and Hemings but the modern day scenes were simply distracting to me I understand the intention was to show the impact of slavery even today however, it seemed out of place in an historical novel It had the sense of two books being mashed into one.That being said, I was fascinated by the story of Sally Hemings Because so little is known about her, Stephen O Connor did a brilliant job of [...]


    25. REALLY mixed feelings about this one It was about as good as a book on this subject matter could possibly be, which is very much damning with faint praise, no It explores the power dynamic between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings in lots of different ways recasting the main characters as 1 two equals on the subway in modern day 2 black female prison guard and white prisoner 3 white art student and color, 4 Dominant male ape 5 through Thomas Jefferson s writings as well as their descendants mem [...]


    26. 4 sorta shiny stars offered a bit begrudgingly by this reader I appreciated the uniquely intriguing interpretation of Jefferson and Hemings s famous, back basement stairs complex relationship, and I found the essential story mesmerizing, the author powerful in his depiction of these 2 unique characters But even as I enthusiastically immersed myself in this upscale read, I so wished the editor had taken some serious hedge clippers to the book s bones and trimmed out the awkward, numerous appendag [...]


    27. One of the continuing threads in this book appears in occasional musings on the subjectivity of perception of colors These meditations contribute to our awareness that the overarching focus of the book is not on what we see, but rather on what we don t see on our blind spots As we learn about the blind spots of Thomas Jefferson, we come closer to facing our own I found this book to be very difficult reading because the inconsistencies of the main character are so hard to accept There is a menti [...]


    28. Some of the experimental writing in this book seemed just silly But overall I found the book provocative What was it like to be a slave What was it like to be a slave of a famous man who claimed all men were created equal What was it like to be the mistress of the famous man How could you not resent him BIG TIME The psychological injustice and complexity of slavery rather than the physical injustice was evoked by this totally imagined story of Sally Hemings I am going to see what black readers a [...]


    29. I might finish this wispy story that unfolds like a dream, meandering around who knows what era, what s part of the plot and what s a dream So far, no plot, no characters, just misty, dreamy stuff without the hard edges of truth or reason that makes good books If I don t finish this, I ll return to the review and give it one star.


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