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Accused From the back of the book: Accused of writing soft-porn, which is certainly a relative characterization, Caldwell seems determined to expose the cruel and evil aspects of human nature, focusing on the poor and highly prejudiced South of his time. Estherville is no exception, as it follows a mulatto brother and sister who are repeatedly victimized, often sexually, in the very "white" town of Estherville. Again, this notion of man as little more than a self-proclaimed civilized animal some more civilized than others whose base drives unchecked not only control him but also ultimately corrupt him is nothing new and repeated throughout this book.

A Place Called Estherville by Erskine Caldwell

Things like racial inequality, prejudice, subjugation and exploitation, hate crimes, etc. He doesn't mince words or sugarcoat his message with a make-you-feel-good ending or uplifting plots. Instead, he makes it ugly and sometimes awfully so, although his books do offer a satisfying conclusion even if the redemption is subtle.

For the most part, his characters are unsavory, sometimes lacking even one redeeming quality, but ultimately effective at showcasing the injustices of a cruel world. So, yeah, I can understand why some people don't enjoy his work.

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But for me, the writing was wonderful, the characters well constructed, if often unlikeable, and his in-your-face style, effective. In some ways, I am reminded of contemporary writers like Junot Diaz, whose work feels just as raw but more autobiographical. There is also a level of absurdity in Caldwell's books that at times seems almost comical, which is odd if you consider the tragic nature of his characters and their story.

I also bought two collections of his short stories and I am even more excited about reading them after completing Estherville. It's like eating spinach instead of ice cream when you were a kid. The spinach might not look appetizing and you might not have learned to appreciate it's bitter taste, but that doesn't change the fact that's it's much better for you than the super-sweet vanilla fudge swirl that you would have probably chosen if given the choice.

I personally love spinach, at least now, partly because I know it's good for me. Mar 03, Pamela rated it really liked it. Where Caldwell's other characters are more caricatures of themselves, these characters are heart-breakingly realistic. All in all, a very disturbing book that should be much more well-known than it is.

Place Called Estherville

I loved this book as I have loved all the books of Erskine Caldwell that I have read thus far. While most people rave about Tobacco Rd and I am not disputing for a second that it was a great read, the characters in this novel are more 'real', like people you could and might have known in your life, and their dignity, fears, oppression and poverty make for a wonderful albeit heartbreaking story.


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Sep 12, Russell Bittner rated it it was amazing. Unlike God, however, there are no mistakes in his creations—no minor missteps. Every word is the result of a perfect craft. Most of Place Called Estherville is dialogue—and contains just a few scenes, a handful of characters. But each word of it creates a scene and a mood for his dialogue. And if you do—like it, that is—add his other works to your library. The ones I know of and have read: Nov 27, John rated it it was amazing Shelves: Well it is because so much of it reminded me of what I saw in my own home town in the s.

Even more terrible is the fact that it is still true today in many rural and urban settings. Of course today it involves a different group of people, now being the newest immigrants here. Terrible story Did not like or finish this book. Would not recommend it to anyone. Not my kind of book at all.

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Jun 03, Bob Behlen rated it liked it. Apr 22, Robin rated it it was ok. This book is about the lives of black people in the South after the civil war.

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It was a book, which told how hard it was to be a black person at this time. For example, one young, black, young This book is about the lives of black people in the South after the civil war. For example, one young, black, young man, Ganus, worked for a white family. He had no recourse to her behavior. If he told her parents, they would punish him for daring to talk bad about their daughter. He had no choice but to leave that employment. If he was caught, he could be sent to jail or be killed by an outraged husband.

He had to leave this employment too, but he had trouble finding work, since neither previous employment would give him good references. Ganus had a sister, whose travails working in white homes were also detailed. There was nothing the siblings could do. Finally, Ganus was killed by an angry husband after his wife had made up a story about how Ganus had tried to rape her.

His sister ended up having a child by one of the white men she had worked for. This was a truly amazing book by Caldwell. Yet another book set in the Deep South focusing on a mixed race brother and sister in a small town. Caldwell as per usually is so vivid in his scenes This was a truly amazing book by Caldwell. Caldwell as per usually is so vivid in his scenes and depictions. Guy Cabell rated it really liked it May 13, Then an incident at work sets him on a path to redemption. Nightmare in The County Hospital. Death is common and routine in training hospitals.

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Product details File Size: June 21, Sold by: Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. The Yanks Are Starving: A Novel of the Bonus Army. Thousands of angry veterans besiege the US Capitol. The nation fears an uprising. Read this shocking epic of the Bonus March. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention erskine caldwell called estherville place called read this book wrote men. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Some folks think it is. The citation above it hardly noteworthy. But I found it interesting, given that he wrote it several decades ago.

I have to wonder why. Every word is the result of a perfect craft. But each word of it creates a scene and a mood for his dialogue. The ones I know of and have read: One person found this helpful. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I have always been a fan of Erskine Caldwell. He was a man ahead of his time. A man who was not afraid to call out the abhorrent treatment of African Americans in the South. Caldwell was one of the few Southern men who had the courage to tell it like it really was.

I truly have never read a book by him that I didn't like. Unfortunately, many times I have cringed in horror at the violent and savage acts committed against the African Americans in the South that he wrote about. It's appalling and a sad statement indeed about the other side of "Southern Heritage". I can understand why Caldwell's books sold so well. Place Called Estherville is right up there. When reading his books, "gapers' block" comes to mind. I've also read Tobacco Road. This book had so much detail that I had to keep laying it down and ponder what I had read.

I am ashamed to be a white person and to know how the men and women could treat another on of Gods creations as not equal. This is a great book to share with grandchildren and let them know how God was not pleased.

A Place Called Estherville

Such a humiliating time of life that keeps slipping back to races and not all humans. Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase. Read this book way back in the late 's and enjoyed it immensely. Always wanted to acquire a copy for my collection and took the opportunity to do so now. Will read at my leisure. My father took an Erskine Caldwell novel away from me in the 50 s.

I always wondered why? I don't think it was because of how blacks were treated. It was difficult to read much of what is portrayed in this novel. But, to get through to the beautiful ending was worth the ugly.


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