Inspired by true events, The Vain Conversation reflects on the 1946 lynching of two black couples in Georgia from the perspectives of three characters—Bertrand Johnson, one of the victims; Noland Jacks, a presumed perpetrator; and Lonnie Henson, a witness to the murders as a ten-year-old boy. Lonnie’s inexplicable feelings of culpability drive him in a search for meaning that takes him around the world and ultimately back to Georgia, where he must confront Jacks and his own demons, with the hopes that doing so will free him from the grip of the past.
In The Vain Conversation, Anthony Grooms seeks to advance the national dialogue on race relations. With complexity, satire, and sometimes levity, he explores what it means to redeem, as well as to be redeemed, when dealing with America’s race violence, and he speaks to the broader issues of oppression and violence everywhere.
A foreword is provided by American poet, painter, and novelist Clarence Major. An afterword is written by T. Geronimo Johnson, the bestselling author of Welcome to Braggsville and Hold It ’Til It Hurts.
Linda G. Niemann
Love and friendship, art and craft, language and culture are the subjects of this look back at one woman’s experiences in Mexico over a period of twenty years.
What first propels Linda Grant Niemann south are the migrants she encounters in her job as a railroad brakeman in the Southwest. She decides to learn Spanish, and in Mexico she soon meets some surprising kindred spirits. An admirer of craft and expertise, Niemann seeks out individual artists who make exquisite things—Otomi papermakers, the families who produce the famous ceramics of Mata Ortiz, the man in Michoacán who knows how to fashion full-size jaguar thrones in bent cane.
Some of her searches lead her to tiny villages and to artists who seldom get to meet their own fans. Niemann wonders if she is experiencing an ordinary shopaholic’s obsession or if this is something more. The something more reveals itself as the connection of one artist to another.
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