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Bailey's Café

Bailey's Café


Bailey's Café

ratings:
4.5/5 (10 ratings)
Length:
7 hours
Released:
Feb 19, 2010
ISBN:
9781441836052
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Welcome to Bailey's Café, the most mythically real diner you've ever walked into. Presided over by Bailey and his helpmate, Nadine, it is a magnet that draws a wide variety of the "colored" people of 1948, each with a story to tell.

Bailey tells us about his love for his strong, quiet wife, and shares his haunting memories of World War II. Then, one by one, we hear from the café's regulars. There is Sadie, whose addiction to alcohol is second only to her mania for cleanliness; the oddly maternal Eve, whose bordello accepts only fresh flowers as legal tender; Sweet Esther, who takes nothing but white roses for her particular favors; Peaches, whose badly mutilated face is a sharp contrast to her beautiful body; Jesse Bell, who cannot overcome her lust for heroin; Miss Maple (whose real name is Stanley); and Mariam, the Ethiopian child who may be the bearer of a miracle.

Gloria Naylor, author of "Women of Brewster Place" and "Mama Day", has created perhaps her finest work in "Bailey's Café". Her wonderful chorus of characters tell tales of woe and fortitude, prejudice and pride; Naylor has transformed the trials of these outcasts into timeless truths about the strengths of people everywhere.
Released:
Feb 19, 2010
ISBN:
9781441836052
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

Gloria Naylor (1950–2016) grew up in New York City. She received her bachelor of arts in English from Brooklyn College and her master of arts in Afro-American Studies from Yale University. Her first novel, The Women of Brewster Place, won the National Book Award. She is also the author of Linden Hills, Mama Day, Bailey's Cafe, The Men of Brewster Place, and the fictionalized memoir 1996.  

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Reviews

What people think about Bailey's Café

4.4
10 ratings / 3 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    * NO Spoilers were used in the writing of this review! *Each chapter in this off-beat, touching book introduces a flamboyant character at a personal crossroads; Bailey's Cafe is their symbolic purgatory. Though the characters come from different walks of life, there is something dysfunctional or broken about each of them. Most are products of physical, emotional or spiritual abuse, often tinged by racial discrimination.In terms of racial issues, this book depicts how deeply prejudice affected the lives of African Americans post WW2, playing a significant role in their circumstances, decisions and ultimate fates on a variety of levels. In my opinion, Jesse's story was the saddest, illustrating the tragic irony when victims of discrimination turn against each other.Despite covering some heavy material, Naylor imbues each character with a sense of dignity and hope.This book is about survival and overcoming hardships. There are also unexpected humorous touches; the story about Eve helping Jesse kick heroin reads like a hilariously ironic AA parable.Though it can be confusing due to an esoteric theme (i.e. Bailey's Cafe as Purgatory), this is still a satisfying, informative read. I was sincerely rooting for these characters!
  • (4/5)
    Excellent.
  • (5/5)
    I didn’t like this book at first, and that’s mainly because there’s too much baseball in the first chapter. It’s a language I don’t speak. It’s also a little obscure in the beginning. Even though there was some beautiful writing, I thought about laying the book aside.

    The second chapter was breathtaking. I put it down just because it was too intense to read more immediately. And the next day, I picked it up again. And no, there’s no more baseball after the first chapter.

    It’s a very surrealistic novel. Bailey’s Café is a way station for people who need a time-out in their lives. It only exists for these people, at this moment, and it can appear anywhere in the world. It’s a strange, magical place, and it’s also a bitter, mournful place, because everybody there has been wounded.

    The stories that comprise this novel are the life-stories of those who enter. They are all unique, amazing people, and the writing is hypnotic, musical, haunting – lavish without ever being over-written, ambitious yet colloquial. I loved this book and was glad I let it unfold until its meaning appeared.