George and Rue

Front Cover
HarperCollins Canada, Limited, 2006 - Black Canadians Nova Scotia Fiction - 223 pages
6 Reviews
It was, by all accounts,, a "slug-ugly" crime. Brothers George and Rufus Hamilton, in a robbery gone wrong, drunkenly bludgeoned a taxi driver to death with a hammer. It was 1949, and the two siblings, part Mi'kmaq and part African, were both hanged for the killing.
Those facts are also skeletons in George Elliott Clarke's family closet. Both repelled and intrigued by his ancestral cousins' deeds, which he only learned about from his mother shortly before her death, Clarke set out to discover just what kind of forces would reduce men to crime, violence and, ultimately, murder. His findings took shape in the 2001 Governor General's Award-winning Execution Poems and culminates brilliantly in "George and Rue." The novel shifts seamlessly back into the killers' pasts, recounting a bleak and sometimes comic tale of victims of violence who became killers, a black community too poor and too shamed to assist its downtrodden members, and a white community bent on condemning all blacks as dangerous outsiders.
"George and Rue" is a book about a death that brims with fierce vitality and dark humour. Infused with the sensual, rhythmic beauty that defines Clarke's writing, it is a remarkable literary debut.

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Review: George & Rue

User Review  - Trista - Goodreads

It's hard to figure out what to say about this one. It's not a particularly enjoyable read, but it's beautiful and horrifying, and worth sticking with through the (fairly graphic) violence. Apparently, it's now out of print, which is a shame, so if you see it, buy it. Read it. Read full review

Review: George & Rue

User Review  - Kelsey - Goodreads

I liked this novel, despite the graphic violence. Read full review

About the author (2006)

George Elliott Clarke, Febraury 12, 1960 - George Elliott Clarke was born in Windsor Plains, Nova Scotia on February 12, 1960. He earned an Honours B.A. in English from the University of Waterloo, an M.A. in English from Dalhousie University and a Ph.D awarded by Queens University. After college, he accepted a position as assistant professor of English and Canadian Studies at Duke University, where he taught topics such as nationalism, post-colonialism, and New World African Literature. In September 1998, he transferred to McGill University in Montréal and became the third Seagram Visiting Chair of Canadian Studies for 1998-1999. He also taught at the University of Toronto as an assistant professor in English. At the age of 21, he received first prize in poetry from the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia in 1981. In 1983, he was runner-up for the Bliss Carman Award for Poetry. While studying at Queens, he was named winner of the Archibald Lampman Award for poetry in 1991. While teaching at Duke, in 1998, he won the $25,000 Portia White Prize for Excellence in the Arts, That same year, he was awarded a Bellagio Center Residency by the Rockefeller Foundation of New York City. In 1999, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Dalhousie University, and the University of Waterloo Arts Alumni Achievement Award. He is also the recipient of a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, from University of New Brunswick. On September 9, 2000, Clarke was awarded Outstanding Writer of a Canadian Feature Film, for One Heart Broken Into Song, by the Black Film and Video Network. Clarke has also edited a two volume anthology, Fire on the Water: An Anthology of Black Nova Scotian Writing (1991-92) and is also the editor of Eyeing the North Star: Directions in African-Canadian Literature. In 2001, Clarke was awarded the Governor General's Award for poetry for his work Execution Poems.

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