product description page

Rails Under My Back (Reprint) (Paperback) (Jeffery Renard Allen)

Rails Under My Back (Reprint) (Paperback) (Jeffery Renard Allen) - image 1 of 1

about this item

"Will put Allen in the company of writers such as James Joyce, August Wilson, and Ralph Ellison." --The Philadelphia InquirerWhen it was first published fifteen years ago, Jeffery Renard Allen's debut novel,Rails Under My Back, earned its author comparisons to some of the giants of twentieth-century modernism. The publication of Allen's equally ambitious second novel,Song of the Shank, cemented those lofty claims. Now, the book that established his reputation is being restored to print in its first Graywolf Press edition. Together, the two novels stand as significant achievements of twenty-first-century literature.Rails Under My Back is an epic that tracks the interwoven lives of two brothers, Lucius and John Jones, who are married to two sisters, Gracie and Sheila McShan. For them, their parents, and their children, life is always full of departures; someone is always fleeing town and leaving the remaining family to suffer the often dramatic, sometimes tragic consequences. The multiple effects of the comings and goings are devastating: These are the almost mythic expression of the African American experience in the half century that followed the Second World War.The story ranges, as the characters do, from the city, which is somewhat like both New York and Chicago, to Memphis, to the West, and to many "inner" and "outer" locales.Rails Under My Back is a multifaceted, brilliantly colored, intensely musical novel that pulses with urgency and originality.

"Will put Allen in the company of writers such as James Joyce, August Wilson, and Ralph Ellison." --The Philadelphia Inquirer


When it was first published fifteen years ago, Jeffery Renard Allen's debut novel,Rails Under My Back, earned its author comparisons to some of the giants of twentieth-century modernism. The publication of Allen's equally ambitious second novel,Song of the Shank, cemented those lofty claims. Now, the book that established his reputation is being restored to print in its first Graywolf Press edition. Together, the two novels stand as significant achievements of twenty-first-century literature.

Rails Under My Back is an epic that tracks the interwoven lives of two brothers, Lucius and John Jones, who are married to two sisters, Gracie and Sheila McShan. For them, their parents, and their children, life is always full of departures; someone is always fleeing town and leaving the remaining family to suffer the often dramatic, sometimes tragic consequences. The multiple effects of the comings and goings are devastating: These are the almost mythic expression of the African American experience in the half century that followed the Second World War.

The story ranges, as the characters do, from the city, which is somewhat like both New York and Chicago, to Memphis, to the West, and to many "inner" and "outer" locales.Rails Under My Back is a multifaceted, brilliantly colored, intensely musical novel that pulses with urgency and originality.

Edition: Reprint
Number of Pages: 563
Genre: Fiction + Literature Genres
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
Author: Jeffery Renard Allen
Language: English
Street Date: October 20, 2015
TCIN: 23983002
UPC: 9781555977238
Item Number (DPCI): 247-50-5306
$15.29
MSRPReg: $18.00 Save $2.71 (15% off)

guest reviews

Prices, promotions, styles and availability may vary by store & online. See our price match guarantee. See how a store is chosen for you.