Long Gone, Come Home is an entrancing, compassionate love letter to the innumerable number of Black lives sacrificed as they struggled to dispossess themselves from a myriad of social injustices.
Birdie Jennings was born and raised in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky under the watchful eye of her mother and two older sisters. Her life revolved around family, church, school, and work until she met the literary dreamer, Jimmy Bryant Walker, who swept Birdie off her feet at the age of seventeen. They shared dreams of leaving the south to pursue their version of American Idealism. Shortly after their marriage, Birdie is faced with life altering events that force her to leave Mt. Sterling and embarks on an unpredictable journey of self-discovery.
As the U.S. entered WW II, the country hovered on a precipice of social transformation. Kilgore chronicles the southern migration to the Midwest and northern states as Black men and women escaped racial persecution and the emotional upheaval they experienced during that time. Concurrently, the blues and jazz musical renaissance ricocheted through American culture which resulted in a social revolution. Kilgore cleverly juxtaposes the frenetic energy and freedom of the jazz and blues era against social injustices suffered by Black Americans symbolizing the preamble to the civil rights movement.
Long Gone, Come Home is part adventure, romance, historical fiction, mystery, and coming of age, which Kilgore deftly develops into a tense, emotional, and inspiring read. The author has developed a masterpiece of literary fiction that encapsulates the vitality of the human spirit along with resilient human nature while illuminating the strength and tenacity of ordinary people coming together in extraordinary circumstances to create conditions in which they can succeed. I loved Long Gone, Come Home, and eagerly look forward to Kilgore’s next novel!!
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