Red Dust Road Hardcover – 4 Jun 2010
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Like the best memoirs, this one is written with novelistic and poetic flair. Red Dust Road is a fantastic, probing and heart-warming read. --The Independent
A clear-eyed, witty and unsentimental account of the push and pull between nature and nurture. Happiness shines through. --The Sunday Times
The book sings with life... it is as warm and spirited, as funny and full of life, as her adoptive parents. --The Literary Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Jackie Kay's compassionate, life-affirming and extraordinarily moving memoir --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I thought the book was beautifully written, I enjoyed the jumps in time and space - from Glasgow to Nigeria, from Aberdeen to Milton Keynes - which seemed to flow naturally and replicate the haphazard nature of memory. And I got a real sense of all these places, particularly Nigeria (the red dust road of the title). I thought that this was an amazingly powerful book, full of warmth and very funny but I'm really glad to have finished it so I can finally stop bloody crying!
It's an engaging and deeply moving read - and it starts brilliantly by describing Jackie's first meeting with her biological father, a born-again Christian and preacher in Nigeria. At various points while reading this I laughed out loud (including while on the underground with people looking at me and thinking I must be mad - but it really was side-splittingly funny) and was also moved to tears.
This is non-fiction at its rawest - Jackie Kay's autobiographical writing is both unflinchingly genuine and beautifully written. She is a very appealing, likeable narrator, which makes it even harder to read of her experiences of rejection and prejudice - although these experiences aren't recounted with self-pity at all. Kay's memories are woven together thematically, so the book does jump around a bit chronologically, but it's very compelling in terms of how it builds up these themes in rich layers waiting to be dug into when Kay meets her birth parents.
This is not just a book about adoption (though obviously that forms its starting point) but about the whole experience of growing up, and about the nuances of growing up as a girl, as a lesbian and as somebody of mixed race. So I know it is not just about one thing, and that may make it less appealing to some readers. But personally I felt this really worked for me.Read more ›
The interweaving of memories from different ages and stages has the effect of biography by theme - a brave and unusual choice as it is harder than a typical chronological story, but, because it is done so very deftly, it creates a story far more compelling than a more usual autobiography.
It never feels like an appeal to our sympathy, or the cry of a victim, despite the extraordinary range of difficulties Jackie faced at one point or another (summed up by her experience of a reading in a school where "anyone interested in adoption, racism or sexuality talk to Jackie..."). Instead, we are shown an array of scenes, difficult and funny, telling and warm, through her unfailingly luminous and limpid prose, from her childhood in Glasgow with communist parents, to meeting both birth parents (astonishingly, both born-again Christians), via pictures of a working poet's life. Stunning, just as the Observer extract promised.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is rare to read a book with such a perfect voice. A life story that no one would dare make up, written by the poet who owns it.Published 4 days ago by Bill Penny
Slightly disjointed and repetitive but a moving story with some real unsung heroes.Published 3 months ago by Lynne P
One of the best memoirs I've ever read; quite often I can find non-fiction incredibly dull in comparison to fiction, but this is a terrific story of the journey of a - I think -... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ged