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It appeared the story became fragmented and it no longer kept me engaged. The story is of siblings that were once close but not for a while. Upon the death of their mother they come back to deal with her death. When they listen to a recording their mother left it is full of old secrets she had never revealed to them of her life. Throughout the book this rum cake or black cake keeps appearing.

The cake sounds a bit like a fruitcake and so did the book after a while. Bits and piece of this and that. I hope that other's enjoy it more than I did, this was not the book for me. Black Cake is the debut novel from Charmaine Wilkerson and it was one I found myself drawn to given the different way in which it was written and it's very different from what I typically read.

Siblings Benny and Byron are brought together by the passing of their mother and her one last wish is for them to listen to a recording and to eat the Black Cake she has left for them at the right time. Benny and Byron were close as children, but a rift has left them separated by both miles and emotions for years. Throughout the book, we're taken on a journey of how the siblings mother, Eleanor, made her way from the Caribbean to the United States and how her life unfolded throughout.

There are secrets the siblings never knew and there are lessons to be learned as they take this final journey set out by their mother. While there was a lot going on in this book, I found the way the story was told to be very interesting and different from the books I normally find myself reading. For me, I liked that departure and I think it added to the richness no pun intended!

Well done by Ms. Truly a great read. The dystopia of living poor with the combination of social persecution, is prevalent throughout this storyline. Definite addition to your TBR List. It was a tradition in Jamaica, where my mother had grown up.

That episode started me thinking about the cultural markers which people inherit and how we choose to hold some symbols closer to our hearts than others, especially in a multicultural family like mine. Still, it was never my intention to write a book with a cake in it. Initially, my thoughts about food, diaspora, and identity were just a few paragraphs in a personal journal. Then I found myself circling these ongoing thoughts in a series of fictional scenes which I kept writing and filing away in my laptop.

At some point, I realized that the characters in these stories were connected to one another. The novel had begun to take shape. Then the black cake simply popped up one day in the narrative and insisted on having its own story.

By the time I finished the book, the cake had come to symbolize various things: family connections, sisterhood, diaspora, and nostalgia. It also represented the ways in which our identities can be shaped as much by untold stories as by the stories we choose to share. Key plot points are discussed in the questions below, so if you have not finished reading Black Cake yet, please skip this part and come back later. In Black Cake, Eleanor Bennett leaves behind a voice recording for her children, disclosing the story of her life.

What was the most surprising part of her past for you? The saddest? The most interesting? Secrets are a huge part of the novel. Why do you think Eleanor kept her story from her children for so long and only shared it posthumously? What do you think is more complicated: the secrets you keep or the secrets you share? Eleanor wanted Mr. Mitch, Benny, and Byron to listen to the voice message she left behind when all together.

Why do you think she specifically made this request? What would have been different if Benny and Byron had listened to everything separately? What was your favorite part of the story? Favorite location and time period? The character who interested you the most? Black cake was a Bennett family recipe, made for weddings, anniversaries, Christmas, and other special occasions.

Do you have a traditional family recipe? What does it mean to you? His feet can already touch the floor. Why was it complicated? How had they grown apart after being so close?

If you have siblings, did you understand the push and pull of this relationship? Do you think they were wrong to be so hard on her? Why or why not? Spoiler warning! Do you find this fear to be reasonable given all the love Benny and Eleanor receive from their family?

How do you think Bert would have responded if Eleanor had told him the truth? Did Lin not fit in because of his debts or would he always be an outsider, no matter how integrated into the community he became?

When Bert was too stubborn to apologize to Benny, Eleanor stayed by his side out of loyalty. Do you think she made the right decision? After the sweeping love story that brought Bert and Eleanor back together again, do you find it surprising that she dated someone else after his death? Were there regrets for giving up her passion, or do you find that she received greater ones in return?

Were you surprised? Forgiveness is a major theme: Eleanor struggles to forgive herself, Marble to forgive her parents, Benny to forgive her family, Byron to forgive Lin. Lin alone.

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Deeply evocative and beautifully written, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch.

Marshall, published by Unknown which was released on Do you want to stop forgetting appointments, birthdays, and other important dates? Work more efficiently at your job? Study less and get better grades? Remember the names and faces of people you meet? The good news is that it's all possible. Your Memory will help to expand your memory abilities. Explores topics related to "black," examining aspects of fashion, philosophy, politics, and popular culture.

An instant New York Times bestseller! A USA Today bestseller! A memorable coming-of-age story and love story, laced with suspense, which explores a hidden side of the home front during World War II, when German POWs were put to work in a Wisconsin farm community. The war has taken a toll on the Christiansen family. This poignant and romantic novel from the New York Times bestselling author of One Italian Summer and In Five Years answers the question: If you could have dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would they be?

Her life is nothing short of a miracle. The heartbreaking tale Eleanor unfolds, the secrets she still holds back, and the mystery of a long-lost child challenge everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage and themselves.

Deeply evocative and beautifully written, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch.

Charmaine Wilkerson is an American writer who has lived in Jamaica and is based in Italy. A graduate of Barnard College and Stanford University, she is a former journalist whose award-winning short fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies.

Black Cake is her first novel. Byron hears the elevator doors peel open. His first instinct is to rush toward his sister and embrace her. He feels Benny put a hand on his arm.

He shakes it free. Benny stands there, her mouth open, but says nothing. And what right does she have to say anything? And now, their ma is gone for good. What does Benny expect? She took a family argument and turned it into a cold war. Never mind all that talk about societal rejection and discrimination and whatnot.

It seems to Byron that whatever kind of problem you have in this world, you can find someone to show you understanding.

And times are changing. The study says it can be a lonely road for people like her. Benedetta Bennett gave up that luxury years ago when she turned her back on her family, even though she claims it was the other way around. At least she showed up this time. County, waiting for Benny to arrive, but no Benny. Later, Byron thought he saw his sister skirting the burial grounds in the back of a car.

But, still, no Benny. Then silence. For months at a time. Then years. The man is forty-five years old, not ten. In all these years, her big brother has never shoved her, never hit her, not even when she was little and tended to pounce and bite like a puppy. His feet can already touch the floor.

Their mother has left them a message, the lawyer says. Byron walked his mother up to Mr. He was sitting there watching some kids skateboard down the broad, buff-toned sidewalks between one high-end chain store and the next, when a police officer rapped on his side window.

This kind of thing had happened to Byron so often over the course of his adult life that sometimes he forgot to be nervous. But most times, whenever he was approached or pulled over by an officer, he slid down into that space between one heartbeat and the next where he could hear his blood crashing through his body, a waterfall carrying centuries of history with it, threatening to wipe out the ground on which he stood.

His research, his books and social media following, the speaking engagements, the scholarship he wanted to fund, all of it, could be gone in a split second of misunderstanding. Though, mostly, it was. Mitch is saying now. You need to be prepared. Byron removes his hand but leaves the packet where Benny can see it. Their ma has addressed the envelope to B and B, the moniker she liked to use whenever she wrote or spoke to them together. B-and-B notes were usually pinned to the fridge door with a magnet.

B and B, I hope you left your sandy shoes at the door.

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