Tomb of the Unknown Racist
Blanche’s first novel in twenty years continues the story of her compelling and edgy protagonist Ellen Burns. When TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN RACIST opens in 1999, Ellen—now sober, haunted by her activist past, her failed relationships, the world at large—is peacefully taking care of her demented mother in South Carolina. Ellen’s brother Royce was a celebrated novelist who, a decade earlier, saw his work adopted by racists and fell under the sway of white supremacy. Ellen thought him dead from a botched FBI raid on his compound. But when his estranged daughter turns up on the news, claiming he might be responsible for kidnapping her two mixed-race children, Ellen travels to New Mexico to help her newfound niece. The book chronicles Ellen’s search for Royce, her descent into the dark abyss of the burgeoning race war of our country, and the confrontation that occurs when she learns the truth about her family’s past.
“In 1970 I realized that the Sixties were passing me by. I had never even smoked a joint, or slept with anyone besides my husband. A year later I had left Nicky, changed my name from Ellen to Rain, and moved to a radical lesbian commune in California named Red Moon Rising, where I was playing the Ten of Hearts in an outdoor production of Alice in Wonderland when two FBI agents arrived to arrest the Red Queen . . .”
So begins Blanche McCrary Boyd’s brilliantly raucous account of self-styled feminist outlaws, their desperate adventures and extraordinary fates. Ellen, the narrator of Boyd’s previous novel, The Revolution of Little Girls, this time pierces the heart of the sexual revolution in her quest to find a woman hero or--by default--to become one.
The Revolution of Little Girls
No matter how hard she tries, Ellen Burns will never be Scarlett O’Hara. As a little girl in South Carolina, she prefers playing Tarzan to playing Jane. As a teenage beauty queen she spikes her Cokes with spirits of ammonia and baffles her elders with her Freedom Riding sympathies. As a young woman in the 1960s and ‘70s, she hypnotizes her way to Harvard, finds herself as a lesbian, then very nearly loses herself to booze and shamans. And though the wry, rebellious, and vision-haunted heroine of this exhilarating novel may sometimes seem to be living a magnolia-scented Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman, Blanche McCrary Boyd’s THE REVOLUTION OF LITTLE GIRLS is a completely original and captivating work.
The Redneck Way of Knowledge
THE REDNECK WAY OF KNOWLEDGE combines autobiography, reporting, and the dressed-up lies we call fiction. An underground classic since its initial publication, it is the wildly funny personal testament of Blanche McCrary Boyd, sixties radical and born-again Southerner, a lesbian with an un-PC passion for skydiving and stock-car racing, a graduate of Esalen and kundalini yoga who now takes her altered states “raw, like oysters.”