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4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 10 December 2000
A family saga with a difference. Magical, sad, serene, mysterious. On the level of 'Love in the time of Cholera'. One is pulled into the mix of mundane family problems to a deeper level of trying to understand what is family love and bonding. How a small moment of distraction can cause years of pain and misunderstanding. It was a pleasur to read as Ms Walker is wonderwoman of the English language.
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on 28 May 1999
Alice Walker's new novel uses switches in narrator to offer a fresh and unpretentious post-feminist look at life and death. Wonderful characterisation and a gentle good humour which will keep you reading to the last page.
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on 27 April 2001
This book draws you in and wrings you out. It is powerfully written and is an experience. The way in which it changes narrator gives you different perpectives of the charachters, making them much more rounded and believable. Well worth buying but don't read it if you are feeling down.
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on 2 July 1999
I admit it - I only bought and read this book because of the hype surrounding it, not because Alice Walker had written it. Maybe it's me but I find the likes of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison a little too heavy going and usually give up before getting half way through their books. This was different. I read the whole thing and when finished although glad that I had read 'By The Light Of My Father's Smile' in it's entirety felt no different about the author.
It is a journey through the life of two daughters and their father and the tangled, confused relationships that form between them and extend to those with whom they come in contact. The story itself is absorbing and as a reader you feel compassion towards the characters but BEWARE this isn't a 'read on the train or before you go to bed book.' This is a 'read it at your most alert or you will find yourself having to re-read whole paragraphs.'
As I said before I am glad I read it - the most interesting aspect was that the book spanned the entire lives of the central characters and carried on through to their afterlife where they learned and gained an understanding of the mistakes that they had made during their lives. One for the bookshelf.
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on 24 May 2008
I adored this. I first became a fan of Alice Walker when i studied 'Color Purple' at High School and i have loved her work ever since!
When i read this i fell in love with the characters, was sad happy and anxious with them, Walker portrayed the complexity of Human emotion and the double standerds that we all have no matter how much we try to be liberal.
Sensual in her description of relationships and paternal in the fathers descriptions and narrations.
As for the idea of Walker hating Black men... i just don't see it here, the Father does what all fathers do and watches over his children with the utmost love.
Walker beautifuly described heritages with care and understanding and 'By the Light of my Fathers smile' is another example of her genius.
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on 22 March 2013
I found this too complicated to get into and it is definitely not a read on the train book you need to read chapters once or twice.
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