Fifth Born II
Set in rural Mississippi and in Harlem in the 1970’s and 80’s, Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle is sequel to the novel Fifth Born. The novel gives readers the lyrical journey of Odessa Blackburn, one of eight siblings living in St. Louis but is abandoned in Mississippi where she negotiates a new life with her ostracized mother. The strains of family propaganda, puberty, and life away from her siblings make for compounded heartache as Odessa and her mother must negotiate toward patience and a new way of loving without violence. Soon mother and daughter build a bridge out of their broken lives over which Odessa’s oldest brother Lamont crosses. The novel blossoms into the story of these young adult siblings. Though the two are estranged early in childhood by the lies and myths born of family pain; they become emotionally reliant on each other for a sense of family.
Acclaimed authors have this to say:
“Zelda gives us an unflinching view of the human spirit surviving adversity, confronting despair with stubbornness and wry humor, and achieving levels of insight that display a genuine sense of compassion.” — Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
“Lockhart is a masterful storyteller and this novel will hold her readers spellbound.” — Jill McCorkle, author of Going Away Shoe
“Fifth Born II is a rich and important tale; it has a down-home feel with a Rhythm and Blues and Soul soundtrack and with a bit of Hip-hop thrown in. This story breathes fire, but it does not scorch – it is the type of fire that warms and enlightens.” — Randall Kenan, author of A Visitation of Spirits.
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When Odessa Blackburn is three years old, she sees her grandmother
for the last time, and so begins her story as the fifth born of eight
children in a troubled family. Molested by her father, Odessa is
also the sole witness to a murder he commits. Her mother guards both
secrets and joins her husband in ostracizing their fifth born from
the rest of her siblings.
As Odessa grows, so do her troubles. She ultimately separates herself
from her parents and siblings into a new reality that prompts memory
and revelation. Her choices for survival provoke an outcome that
will forever alter the carefully maintained lies of her childhood.
Zelda Lockhart's Fifth Born is lyrically written, poignant and powerful
in its exploration of how secrets can tear families apart and unravel
people's lives. Set in rural Mississippi and St. Louis, Missouri,
Fifth Born is a story of loss and redemption, as Odessa walks away
from those who she believes to be her kin to discover the meaning
Fifth Born was a Barnes & Noble Discovery selection,
and recently won a finalist award for debut fiction from the Zora
Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Foundation.
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Zelda Lockhart at Simon & Schuster Canada, official publisher's site
Cold Running Creek
Cold Running Creek won a 2008 Honor Fiction Award from the Black Caucus of
The American Library Association. It was also selected as North Carolina A&T
University's Community Read for 2008/09 incoming students.
During one of the most tumultuous times for the North American continent
(pre and post Civil War) three generations of women both Native American
and African American, struggle to be free.
Raven, the main character of the first two chapters of the novel,
is the daughter of Choctaw Native Americans who have escaped the
relocation from Mississippi to Oklahoma Territory in hopes of negotiating
their rights in the political maze of their changing landscape. In
the event of faltered plans, her mother and father, ishki and inki have
charged Raven with the responsibility of her two younger siblings.
The three children are the sole survivors of the resulting tragedy.
Though eventually Raven marries a half French, half Choctaw man
of prominence, and becomes the proud Misses of LeFlore plantation,
she bares the initial, seemingly indelible wounds of the novel, and
extends those to her daughter, Lilly, a half black half Choctaw infant
who Raven raises as the full-blood heir to LeFlore.
As the upshot of a second political miscalculation of American conquest,
Lilly is captured and sold into the last three years of slavery.
Though her actual bondage is short, her escape from her own enslavement
spans to mid-life. She is always waiting for something to change.
One day she abandons her two daughters and commits a dreadful act
against her husband. Though horrifying, her lashing out is the very
catalyst for her freedom. In an ending that peaks to a crescendo
of redemption, Lilly’s salvation brings with it freedom for
two generations of male and female ancestors of both Choctaw and
Cold Running Creek is enlightening in its untold historical
truths, and relevant to all time with its soul-stirring revelations.
With a chorus of swamps, voodoo, floods, creeks and rivers, Cold
Running Creek is rich, passionate, and leaves the reader breathless.
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Click here to read an excerpt from "Cold Running Creek".