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News & Features » March 2014 » Bedrock Faith Earns Rave Reviews!

Bedrock Faith Earns Rave Reviews!

BedrockFaith_CurrentCongratulations to Eric Charles May, whose debut novel, Bedrock Faith, has earned shining reviews from all four trade publications and many others!

*Featured in O, The Oprah Magazine as one of their Ten Books to Pick Up Now, April 2014!

*A Publishers Weekly Notable African-American Title!

Bedrock Faith is a strong, engaging novel—full of warmth and charm and honesty.”

Bedrock Faith isn’t a short read, but it’s a rich one, and the characters are engaging.”

“A compelling look at a tight-knit community battling a threat from within.”
Chicago Social Magazine

“The depth and the magnetism and the humor of Eric Charles May’s truly unforgettable characters makes this a neighborhood well worth visiting.”
—New York Journal of Books

Bedrock Faith is an entertaining and heartfelt novel, and it provides an important look at a side of Chicago that is under-represented in today’s literary fiction.”
Chicago Center for Literature and Photography

“Eric Charles May and James Baldwin share more than skin color and writing passion. They are masters of the complicated operas that unfold in a particular place, of the complexities and frailties of mankind. Bedrock Faith is May’s first novel, and since approaching Baldwin is no idle feat, one only hopes he’ll write more.”

Full trade publication praise for Bedrock Faith:

“Parkland is a close-knit, gossipy, middle-class neighborhood at the furthermost edge of ‘Chicago’s vast South Side.’ Established in the 1870s by African American migrants from the Deep South, Parkland is proud of its heritage and easily riled by change or disruption. In early 1993, Stew Pot Reeves, the terror of 129th Street, returns to his mother’s house after serving less than half of his 30-year sentence. Mrs. Motley, a widow and retired school librarian, lives next door. Impeccably put-together and decorous, she is the moral compass of this sure-footed, microcosmic drama, the first novel by Columbia College Chicago associate professor May. As Mrs. Motley and her neighbors, including devoted admirer Mr. McTeer, the lively Powell family, and sexy, enigmatic Erma Smedley, brace for Stew Pot’s renewed assaults, they discover that after finding the ‘Light’ in prison, he has become a hectoring scold, merciless spy, and diabolical agent of misery. Stew Pot’s fanaticism ignites smoldering conflicts that force his neighbors to confront complex moral dilemmas and recognize their authentic selves. In this vivid, suspenseful, funny, and compassionate novel of epiphanies, tragedies, and transformations, May drills down to our bedrock assumptions about ourselves, our values, and our communities. As sturdy as a Chicago bungalow and bursting with life, May’s debut is perfect for book clubs.”
Booklist (starred review)

“May slowly builds suspense as he persuasively unfolds the narrative in this work that reads like an Agatha Christie mystery. The characters, even those whose names are never mentioned, are versatile and relatable, and May’s descriptions embody a tapestry of words. Like Ronald M. Gauthier’s Crescent City Countdown, this story will appeal to readers of thrillers and African American fiction.”
Library Journal 

“May’s expansive first novel reveals the complicated emotional economy that holds together a neighborhood in crisis . . . May’s vivid descriptions of the rhythms of life in the suburb, whose tight-knit middle-class families are unwilling to face a problem that can’t be solved by law, contrast with the . . . motives of Stew Pot, who swings from harmless pest to violent menace. Yet, portrayed from a variety of perspectives that reveal vibrant lives in ordinary houses, Parkland is just as captivating when its most troubled son is not in the picture, as decades-old grudges and feuds come to light.”
Publishers Weekly

“May’s Mrs. Motley is a superbly rendered, evolving character and the narrative’s heart: intent on dignified kindness and generosity, on propriety and perspective, yet plagued by unintended consequences and forced to ask herself, ‘what do you say to the pain of someone who felt horribly wronged by your right?’ A perceptive and entrancing meditation on friendship and family, love and forgiveness.”
Kirkus Reviews

Posted: Mar 19, 2014

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