Leaving: A Novel

Paperback | April 9, 2003

byRichard Dry

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Winner of the Joseph Henry Jackson Award
Pushcart Editors' Prize Nominee

In 1959, newly-widowed and pregnant Ruby Washington and her thirteen-year-old half brother, Easton, board a bus in rural South Carolina, destined for Oakland, California. There, far from the violent events that forced her to flee her home, Ruby hopes to make a new life for her family.

Ruby gives birth to a daughter, Lida, and strives to raise the girl and Easton. But as their Oakland neighborhood changes during the turbulent 1960s, the three are driven apart by forces that Ruby cannot control. Easton becomes involved with civil rights activism and the Black Panthers; Lida, keeping a hurtful family secret to herself, spirals into a cycle of dependency and denial. Finally, Lida's sons Love LeRoy and Li'l Pit must fend for themselves in the inhospitable streets of America, leaving one city for another, searching for a home.

Centered around three generations of a family and set against the larger dispossession of African Americans, Leaving is a blend of history and intimately-observed everyday life.

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Winner of the Joseph Henry Jackson AwardPushcart Editors' Prize NomineeIn 1959, newly-widowed and pregnant Ruby Washington and her thirteen-year-old half brother, Easton, board a bus in rural South Carolina, destined for Oakland, California. There, far from the violent events that forced her to flee her home, Ruby hopes to make a new l...

Richard Dry is an English instructor at Las Positas College and a former Senior Mental Health Assistant who worked with emotionally disturbed youth. Leaving won the Joseph Henry Jackson Award from the San Francisco Foundation and Intersection for the Arts and was nominated for the Pushcart Editor's Prize. Dry lives with his wife in El...

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Format:PaperbackPublished:April 9, 2003Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312302878

ISBN - 13:9780312302870

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Bookclub Guide

An epic, engrossing first novel of an African-American family, its dispossession and regeneration.Leaving begins in 1959, when newly-widowed and pregnant Ruby Washington and her half brother, Easton, board a bus in rural South Carolina destined for California. Their lives and the lives of Ruby's daughter Lida and her children Love and Li'l Pit are played out against the turbulent backdrop of the 1960s and the drug-infested neighborhoods of the 1980s and 1990s. Ruby and Lida struggle to embrace each other without disturbing the family secret that eventually drives Lida into prostitution; Easton grows into a charismatic community leader without control over his own inner world; and Love attempts to rescue his brother from the inhospitable streets of America. Leaving places, leaving family, and leaving the prisms of racism and poverty-this debut novel is a remarkable synthesis of history and intimately-observed everyday life.

Editorial Reviews

"Written in a poetic prose that exposes the strength, frailty, and tenacity of human nature, and inserted into a challenging structure that stimulates the mind and soul, Leaving is a modern day classic." -African American Literature Book Club