In the madness and violence of a great battle and its aftermath, Bushrod Carter tries to act his part as well as he can. He must confront his soul and learn from his comrades and from a young girl struggling with her own harsh past.
This timeless portrait of a young man's suffering in war has already won praise for its originality and power. The Black Flower is a story not only of war, but of men and women seeking redemption, who are stripped of all that anchors them, and who at last turn to honor and courage and love.
©1997 Howard Bahr; (P)1998 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Bahr's blend of historical fact with gut-wrenching emotion has produced a riveting novel of the Civil War, a frighteningly realistic portrait of men and women caught in an awfulness beyond their control." (Publishers Weekly)
"Bahr makes an impressive debut with a haunting tale of a brief but bloody encounter on the road to Nashville....A bleakly effective and economical account of men and women caught up in a bestial conflict." (Kirkus Reviews)
I have to agree with whomever said this book reads like a cross between Ambrose Bierce and William Faulkner - two of my favorite authors. It was hauntingly beautiful and well narrated. It's been over a year since I listened to this audiobook, but I've recommended it many times and there are several passages that have stayed with me. I loved the powerful characterizations, the surreal flashes, and the unexpected humor. I had to have a box of kleenex on hand at the end. I also recommend Bahr's "The Year of Jubilo" and "The Judas Field" which continue the story but unfortunately aren't available as audio downloads.
I have read a lot of Civil War fiction and this is one of the best, maybe the best. The characters are so realistic, the interactions believable, the detail sensitive and poignant: the loyalties among friends soldiering together, the misfits in pre-war life who are misfits in wartime, too. The young people who in a non-warring world would be courting and marrying, are now in limbo, their would-be sweethearts lost to war or refugeeing. Characters' inner thoughts, dreams, memories, prayers and hopes are all part of the story. There are no caricatures, no clich?s. It is beautifully written and the narrator is excellent.
"There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
THE BLACK FLOWER is Howard Bahr's impressive debut novel about a Confederate soldier and the Battle of Franklin in the Civil War.
Bahr writes stunning action sequences. While the novel is moving, I felt it a bit overwrought, and found the dialogue at times clumsy and some of the narrative bumpy, which made the reading feel like drudgery in chunks.
This was an ambitious and valuable first novel for Mr. Bahr and I plan to read more of his novels.
Unfortunately, the audio quality was subpar and the narrator seemed to hit autopilot for spans.
The audio version was better than the print version for me because I enjoyed the voices that the novel was narrated with. Also, the audiobook helps with those who are slow readers.
"You boys are crazier than owl sh*t"-a Stranger
This novel did not make me cry, but not for lack of trying. The novel did have some all too real moments of gruesome reality, but also had sprinklings of humor that made me laugh and laugh.
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