Deep Sightings and Rescue Missions: Fiction, Essays, and Conversations

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Pantheon Books, 1996 - Fiction - 257 pages
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On December 9, 1995, Toni Cade Bambara died at the age of fifty-six, a profound loss to American culture. In its obituary the New York Times called her "a major contributor to the emerging genre of black women's literature, along with the writers Toni Morrison and Alice Walker."
The author of many acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, among them three pioneering and timeless volumes: Gorilla, My Love and The Seabirds Are Still Alive, both collections of stories, and The Salt Eaters, a novel, Bambara had not published a new book in the fourteen years prior to her death. She developed during that time a keen interest in film - as a scriptwriter, filmmaker, critic, and teacher - and collaborated on several television documentaries, including The Bombing of Osage Avenue, about the police assault on the MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia, and on the W. E. B. Du Bois Film Project. Bambara also helped to launch the careers of many other black women filmmakers.
Deep Sightings and Rescue Missions is a brilliant distillation of Bambara's original sensibility and a confirmation of her status as one of America's great post-World War II writers. Here is a rich selection of her writings, many of which have never before appeared in print: stories ("Madame Bai and the Taking of Stone Mountain," "Ice," "Luther on Sweet Auburn"), essays ("Language and the Writer," "The Education of a Storyteller), film criticism ("School Daze"), and a revealing interview.

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Deep sightings and rescue missions: fiction, essays, and conversations

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Bambara's (The Salt Eaters, LJ 4/1/80) artful storytelling and passion for writing and for film come through clearly in this posthumous collection of six fiction and six essay and conversation pieces ... Read full review

Contents

GOING CRITICAL
5
MADAME BAI
27
BABYS BREATH
45
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Toni Cade Bambara, a well-known teacher, writer, and social activist, was born on May 25, 1939, in New York. Bambara's mother was influenced by the Harlem Renaissance and fostered creativity in her daughter. After graduating from Queens College in 1959, Bambara worked as a social investigator for the New York Department of Welfare. This experience influenced her writing and reflected her interest in the welfare of the black community. Bambara returned to school, receiving her MA from City College of New York in 1965, where she taught until 1969. It was in the 1970s that Bambara wrote her most important works, including Black Woman, Southern Black Utterances Today, and Gorilla My Love. Bambara's works are frequently written in black street dialect and are set in the rural South and the urban North. She is interested in the identities and experiences of the black community and writes about their effects as a society. She has also authored several film and television scripts. Bambara is a frequent guest lecturer, visiting professor, and community leader. She received an American Book Award in 1981 Her novel The Salt Eaters (1980) is centered around a healing event that coincides with a community festival in the fictional city of Claybourne, Georgia. The novel Those Bones Are Not My Child or If Blessings Come (title of the manuscript), was published posthumously in 1999. It deals with the disappearance and murder of forty black children in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981. It was called her masterpiece by Toni Morrison, who edited it and also gathered some of Bambara's short stories, essays, and interviews in the volume Deep Sightings & Rescue Missions: Fiction, Essays & Conversations. (Vintage, 1996). Toni Cade Bambara was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1993 and died of it in 1995, at age 56.

Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio on February 18, 1931. She received a B.A. in English from Howard University in 1953 and a master's degree in English from Cornell University in 1955 with her thesis on the theme of suicide in modern literature. She taught at several universities including Texas Southern University, Howard University, and Princeton University. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. Her other works include Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Paradise, Love, A Mercy, and Home. She has won several awards including the National Book Critics Circle Award for 1977 for Song of Solomon, the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved in 1988, the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. She also co-wrote children's books with her younger son, Slade Morrison, including The Big Box, The Book of Mean People, and Peeny Butter Fudge.

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