||January 1, 2006
An imaginative work that transports the reader into a mysterious world where Yerby’s characters snatch him from his deathbed and demand that he recant his doctrine of the ‘victims guilt’. They believe this doctrine has condemned Yerby to oblivion… and his characters as well. Their will to survive is pitted against Yerby’s pernicious belief with unforeseen consequences for all.
Barnes & Noble.com
Eloquent Press e-Book
Frank Yerby Renaissance Project
PROLOGUE The drawn, gaunt patient lay alone in his steel, mechanized bed crowded into a small room. The white walls boasted a solitary black crucifix as the room’s only decoration. The rich, fragrant aroma of a myriad of plants and flowers almost recreated the drab hospital room into a veritable Garden of Eden, appropriately signifying both the beginning as well as the ending of life. When he had first arrived, the patient could escape the narrow confines of his room by sitting outside in the patio attached to his room. The patio marked the patient’s wealth and rank. Now all he could do was gaze eastward in the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, the coast of his adopted land that ancient African desert dwellers had called Iberia. And Frank Yerby knew he would never again see his beloved Spain, the land of Iberia that he and his wife… Blanca…called home, again. The door opened and into the room strode a young woman dressed in white with a funny little starched hat perched on top of her curly, brown hair. “And how are we feeling today, Senor Yerby?” Yerby was laying on his deathbed and he knew it. All Yerby could do in reply was to turn slightly, nod his head at the nurse and manage a little smile. Though his body was weak, Yerby’s mind seethed with many unsettling thoughts. “After all that I have done, is this all there is?” he wondered with some sadness. “I have examined everything life has to offer: love and glory, debauchery and heresy, kindness and courage, faith and cruelty, valor and suffering, goodness and treachery, beauty and evil. I did not submit to convention, nor yield to standards or rules, I wrote about life. And now that it is over…is there truly nothing left?” These thoughts dragged from Yerby not only his deepest fears, but also his profoundest sense of guilt. “What have I done to merit such a fate? What wrong have I committed to be punished so? How can my examination of human nature,” he wondered, “with all its frailties and weaknesses be wrong?” Yerby lay in his bed desiring his reward, his honors, his recognition. He was troubled more by the lack of recognition at the end then by the end itself. “This is a lonely unmerited end,” he thought to himself. Yerby’s prodigious outflow of literary gems could only be exceeded by Yerby’s own inestimable belief in his own worth. Yerby had always believed that the world was divided between gods and men. Though he might not be a god, he certainly was no ordinary man. Yet even as he ridiculed ordinary men’s creation of the gods in a feeble attempt to ward off death, Yerby now found that he was no more immune to this particular fear than any other mortal. “His works,” Yerby thought to himself, “somehow were supposed to proceed him down that dark road lighting his way. When he faced his own mortality, Yerby thought the praises and honors bestowed upon him for his creative genius would be ringing in his ears. But alas, there were no honors and no recognition. It was as if this work did not even exist. Deep in his mind, a little voice spoke out, ”Possibly you should seek forgiveness.” “Is there some reason I must he seek forgiveness?” Yerby roared by at the little voice. “Forgiveness? Forgiveness for what? For leaving wife, children, country even race, to follow my own will, my own mind. That’s the price the mediocrity must pay to greatness” Yerby thought about the possibility of asking for a priest to hear his confession. But he rejected the idea. He was no coward. “But look what I accomplished” Yerby thought. “I wrote thirty-two novels…every one of them a moving, passionate, engaging, irresistible, brilliant, lucid, entertaining description of Life…. Why should I feel guilty?” “Why shouldn’t you feel guilty,” a husky voice spoke out. “You damned your own soul to hell, didn’t you!” Dimly, a trail of tobacco smoke lazily rose from behind a potted fern. Following it with his mind’s eye, Yerby spied a large gentleman, lounging indifferently in a straight-back chair, staring back at him. As he gazed at his visitor, Yerby could see icy contempt clearly expressed on his visitor’s face. The gentleman was dressed in a Prince Albert frock coat in the fashion set by his Royal Highness, consort to Queen Victoria in the late nineteenth century. A white shirt with wing collars starched into knife-blade sharpness with puffed up Ascot scarf held in place by a glittering stick pin gave the visitor a look of distinction. Instantly the visitor’s identity exploded into Yerby’s consciousness. “Dawson! Pride Dawson! “Yerby blurted, thinking how strange it was to be visited by the central character from “Pride’s Castle”, one of his better known books. As a matter of fact, “Pride’s Castle” had become a television movie. “Right you are, Frank”, the American Yankee said. “But how did you get here?” Yerby asked. “They sent me to bring you back .” “Bring me back…where? why? Who sent you?” “You’ve gotta set things right…. Come along, now.” “ You mean my time…” “Oh no, no you’re not going to die…not yet. You’ve still got time to set things right…. But you must accompany me, now.”
“The horsemen went filed by Indian style making no sound. Their horses’ hooves were padded with rolls of cloth, so that the animals seemed to be wearing turbans on their feet, the riders hadn’t covered their heads with the tall conical hoods yet, so, the fifty faces, one by one, showed up clearly in the moonlight as the rode. Each rider bore a terrible look matching the rider’s intent to commit terrible deeds. These men really weren’t any different from any other fifty men picked at random from any section of the land. They varied in age from forty downwards to less than twenty. Some were thin, some fat, some rather handsome. They did not seem to be fiends incarnate-out of hell-just a group of average, rather ordinary men, riding quietly through the night.
What made them look so terrible was not their robes, ridiculous coverings of sewn-up bedsheets, nor the hoods they carried, nor the whips coiled around the saddle horns nor the guns in their holsters or the knives and swords. Their faces were terrifying because their faith was unquestioning. Faith sustained these Klansmen’s belief that the pigmentation of their skins, or rather the lack of it, was a God-given badge of superiority. This superiority allowed them to commit acts of obscene barbarity without the faintest tinge of remorse. Their cause was holy. The Christian God was on their side. The Christian God and all His angels stood smiling their approval while masked fanatics whipped Negro women to death, burned schoolhouses, and made war even upon children. And throughout history it has been this way: Arian Christianity has left rivers of blood and mountains of skulls and bones as their legacy of racial superiority. The legacy of a civilization whose reality is evil and whose victims are innocent.
Book Review: Frank Yerby: A Victim's Guilt
Book Review: FRANK YERBY: A VICTIM’S GUILT
By Felicia Pride
In his first novel, Frank Yerby: A Victim’s Guilt, Eugene Stovall has given us a brilliant insight into the mind of this controversial African American writer.
Frank Yerby: A Victim’s Guilt is an imaginative work that transports its reader into a world as mysterious and fascinating as Yerby, himself. In this novel, Yerby is challenged to defend one of his oft quoted maxims that victims … rather than being innocent … are guilty of causing their own victimization. Specifically, Yerby says in several of his novels, including Griffin’s Way and Speak Now, that blacks, themselves, were responsible for being enslaved by whites. But in Stovall’s transformational novel, characters from Yerby’s own books snatch Yerby from his deathbed and demand that he recant. Yerby’s characters are driven to act not because of any moral concerns but simply because of their basic desire to exist. For as they tell Frank Yerby, “If you are forgotten, we will fade into oblivion and we cannot permit that to happen.” Because of their urge to live, Yerby’s characters demand that he “fix” the problem that has led to his fading from the literary scene. His characters send Yerby on a mission … one that forces him to confront the same real-life situations in which he had cast them and which led him to pronounce “a victim’s guilt”. Thereupon, Yerby is called to either demonstrate the truth of his belief or abandon it.
At the same time, Frank Yerby: A Victim’s Guilt is more than a clever attempt to familiarize the reading public with another forgotten African-American writer. This book challenges its reader in a manner that is as unexpected as it is profound. The novel forces the reader … regardless of philosophical or religious belief … to consider the relationship between creator and creation and reflect upon the question of how the creator determines a person’s fate. The novel asks the question: can free will overcome fate? In addition, the reader is asked to evaluate the efficacy prayer to the creator in changing one’s fate. In this novel, Stovall dramatizes the human condition in a way that reflects the potency of will immanent in those who are created. Furthermore, Stovall opens to the reader the possibility that the creator is dependent upon his own creation. This reciprocal relationship is so strong in the book, in fact, that by the end Yerby actually falls into a desperate, though futile love with one of his own characters.
In addition, Stovall attempts to follow what Darwin Turner calls Yerby’s ability to ‘debunk historical myth’. Readers who value alternative historical perspectives and counter cultural insights will find a treasury of new ideas in Frank Yerby: A Victim’s Guilt. For example, Stovall introduces his readers to an incident of historical treachery that has been covered up by mainstream historians.
When Lieutenant William Crittendum, scion of one of Kentucky’s first families … a family that has produced a United States Senator and a Secretary of State … travels to Cuba on a filibustering mission, he is captured and executed by the Spanish. Though history says that the young Crittendum died as a young fortune-hunter whose adventure went terribly wrong, Stovall suggests an alternative cause: treachery.
Lieutenant Crittendum was engaged to the young Lucy Holcombe, one of the loveliest and most celebrated of the Southern belles. The two were madly in love. However, another Southerner, Francis Pickens desired the hand of the beautiful Ms. Holcomb. But Pickens, destined to be the governor of South Carolina, was far older than the dashing young Crittendum and had no chance. So the old man sought the assistance of his friend and fellow member of the South’s nullification movement, John Quitman, the Governor of Mississippi. According to Stovall, the principle reason for the filibuster campaign against Cuba in 1851… as well as its failure … was to remove Pickens’ rival for Lucy Holcombe’s hand. Just as David sent Uriah to his death so did Pickens’ with the help of Quitman do the same to William Crittendum who was barely in his twenties. After the death of her fiancé, Lucy Holcombe, indeed, did marry Frances Pickens and was the first lady of South Carolina when Pickens fired upon Fort Sumter to lead South Carolina out of the union and initiate the bloody civil war.
Frank Yerby: A Victim’s Guilt will be the surprise of the season and will certainly provide readers not only with an entertaining story, but also with many thought provoking ideas that will not only ignite the imagination but also spark discussion for some time to come.
Books can be obtained through Baker and Taylor distributing agent or at www.frankyerby.com/victim.html.
The Lost Yerby Years
The Trinada/Tobaga Times
Can you re-energize an echo to make it reverberate once more? For that surely is what Frank Yerby has become an echo on the literary landscape; despite his 33 books, short-stories and poetry.
A sprited group is trying to do something about it. The Frank Yerby Renaissance Project is attempting to help revive interest in Yerby's work. A novel by Dr. Eugene Stovall, Frank Yerby: A Vicim's Guilt seeks to find out, among other things, how a novelist who has written 33 novels with total sales approaching 75,000,000 books has remained a virtual unknown ...
Editorial Review, Amazon,com
Frank Yerby: A Victim’s Guilt is an imaginative work that transports the reader into a mysterious and fascinating world were history and fiction merge within the actuality of Frank Yerby’s mind. Characters from Frank Yerby’s own books snatch him from his deathbed and demand that he recant his doctrine of the ‘victims guilt’. They believe this doctrine has condemned Yerby to oblivion… and his characters as well. Their will to survive is pitted against Yerby’s pernicious belief with unforeseen consequences for all.
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Reader Reviews for "Frank Yerby: A Victim's Guilt"
|Reviewed by Aberjhani
|Frank Yerby has so often been maligned as a pusher of pulp fiction or other inappropriate misnomers that it is both refreshing and inspiring to see such an ambitious literary treatment of his legacy. This "transformative novel" seems to be as rich in literary imagination and metaphysical substance as Yerby's own works. I look forward to the day when I can sit down, read it in full, and write a more proper and complete review. For the time being, I'm happy enough simply to know that a book such as this exists. Thank you for striving to produce it.
|Reviewed by Virginia Tolles
|Excellent premise and one, I suspect, all we writers might face on our death beds when we atone for having pushed others aside while we wrote. All that for a paltry royalty check that wasn't even enough to pay the gas bill. Will we all be left singing, "Is that all there is?"|