Colors of the Wheel
By: Randy Kraft
Length: 350 pages
Release date: Dec 28, 2013
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On the night of President Obama's second election, a black girl defends herself against an assault by angry young men and kills one. Even though it is deemed self-defense, a hearing will determine if Keisha goes to trial. No mystery, nor is this a history - no maids or mammies or masters, no slaves or servants. "Colors of the Wheel" is a novel that explores contemporary race relations through three families - black, white and brown - bonded through friendship, marriage or adoption, they all struggle in some way with the modern-day color line. And they all wait with Keisha at court, their stories revealed.
Some hide from their racial heritage, others accept and prevail, while others face fear and violence, but it is through Keisha, the youngest of this makeshift clan, and the darkest in skin tone, they find common ground.
Will justice be served? Aren't we all guilty and innocent in some way?
Each chapter focuses on one character and one significant point in time, from 1990 until 2012 - love, loss, marriage, friendship, hardship - with flashbacks as far back as the Great Depression, through 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and the change promised by Barack Obama.
We rarely hear of lynchings anymore, or the Klan, or Baptist church bombings, and black and white can marry, they are protected by civil rights legislation, and the schools are integrated, although not equalized. However, rates of poverty and unemployment are higher among people of color, health and health care poorer, and more black people are incarcerated than any others. How much has changed and how do simple hard-working people grapple with their place on the color line. Even today, the whiter the better, it seems.
"Colors of the Wheel" contains many layers of thought, perfect for thinking readers and book groups, and, perhaps, an opportunity to reconsider civil rights in America.
A novel for readers of Barbara Kingsolver, Meg Wolitzer, Sue Miller, Alice Walker, and others who seek truth in fiction.