Reparations

by Stephen Kimber | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 0002005646 Global Overview for this book
Registered by winggypsysmomwing of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on 3/6/2006
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by winggypsysmomwing from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Monday, March 06, 2006
This is the second book I've gotten free from the Harper Collins First Look program. On the back it says: A page-turning legal thriller, Reparations is a sophisticated tale fuelled by power, sex, the politics of race and an impassioned quest for justice.

Journal Entry 2 by winggypsysmomwing from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Sunday, March 26, 2006
Reparations by Stephen Kimber tells the fictional story of what happened to the residents of Africville, the black community on the edge of Halifax, after the city of Halifax destroyed their home in the 1960’s. At the heart of the story is a friendship between Raymond Carter, a resident of Africville, and Ward Justice, a fisherman’s son. Ward’s father, Desmond, initiated a strike against his employers because of the unfair working conditions. After many months on the picket line, the employers agreed to hire everyone back, everyone except Desmond Justice. Desmond and his family moved to Halifax in the middle of the school year. Ward and Ray met on Ward’s first day at his new school when a group of black boys attacked Ward and Ray stopped the fight. After that day, Ward and Ray were inseparable although Desmond did not want Ward to hang around with “coloureds”. Ward enjoyed going to Ray’s home in Africville which reminded him of the fishing village where he was born. The friendship did not survive the high school years however. Ward was placed in C-3 in tenth grade. There were no black students in C-3 whereas half the students in C-17, Ray’s homeroom, were black. The students in C-3 were expected to go to university after high school. When Ray went to the guidance counsellor in Grade 11 to enquire about getting into university he was informed that he was in the general stream and he had no chance of being admitted to university.

Fast forward to the year 2002. Uhuru Kwacha, the former Raymond Carter, is a lawyer standing in the courtroom of Ward Justice. His client is a bookkeeper for the City of Halifax charged with embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Uhuru tells Mr. Justice Justice that his client is pleading not guilty and defends his actions because he used the money to benefit former residents of Africville and their descendents. Uhuru knows he is on very shaky legal ground and, in fact, he is really making up his argument on the fly. The judge is very short with him and denies bail for his client. Two years later when the trial starts Uhuru is leading a defense team that includes a black female law professor and a white former law professor with considerable courtroom experience. Ward Justice is the trial judge. The shared history, as well as their separate experiences in the intervening years, of the two men underpins the court case.

Reparations is a masterful account of the experiences of blacks in modern Nova Scotia. Kimber shows how pervasive racism was in the 1960’s and beyond but he also shows that success was possible for some in the black community. The black characters are believable because they have failings as well as virtues.

As for the white characters in the book, they seem more universally venal. The head of the fishing company is particularly malevolent and his buddy who mentors Ward through law school and into politics is a nasty piece of work too. Ward is not evil per se but he is easily led and wants to please everyone. Mind you, by the end of the book, I admired him but only because he finally took a stand.

Race relations is the main theme of the book but additional information about the fishing industry, politics and the media certainly rounded out the book. Kimber deserves praise for dealing with many difficult issues and at the same time writing an interesting story.

Journal Entry 3 by winggypsysmomwing from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Friday, March 31, 2006
The Employment Equity Committee showed the film "Remember Africville" at work today. It seemed like bookcrossing synchronicity that this film was shown just after I finished the book. So I took it and offered it to anyone who wanted to learn more about Africville. I had a few takers so I hope they will record their thoughts.

Journal Entry 4 by judysh from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Tuesday, June 13, 2006
This is from the Winnipeg bookxing meeting. I look forward to reading a book set in a very interesting time and place in Canada.

Journal Entry 5 by Pooker3 from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Ooh, according to the back cover this is a "tale fuelled by power, sex, the politics of race and an impassioned quest for justice". Looks like a page turner for sure. Picked up at tonight's meeting. Thanks!

Journal Entry 6 by Pooker3 at No Frills in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Released 9 mos ago (7/4/2018 UTC) at No Frills in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book on the bench inside the entrance. It had disappeared by the time I left. I hope the finder enjoys it. I enjoyed reading this story but it was not the page turner I had anticipated. In fact it took me several months to finish it. It was my bedtime reading. So I'd read several pages and then be ready to nod off. That's not to imply it was boring; it was in fact very interesting.

And like gypsy mom, I experienced a bit of serendipity while reading it when I met a family who had roots in Africville.

This book was released as part of the 2018 Canada Day release challenge in celebration of Canadian books and authors.

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