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Floyd: 1948


His heart pinging in his chest from the bennies that kept him awake from one gig to the next, he'd fly along the roads, pressing the accelerator and feeling himself unhinged from the reasonable desires.

Oprah's note:
I thought: what does that mean, unhinged from reasonable desires? I think it's such a loosening of routine, and ordinariness, of what is expected, of what you're supposed to do. It's being unhinged from reasonable desires. I had to stop and repeat that a couple of times. It struck me.

He'd come down here to play the jukes and jazz joints, but he was three months into this shabby little tour and felt like a kite broken off from its string.

Oprah's note:
Floyd really does feel unhinged. It's a repetition of the unhinged theme. This passage just reminds me that I can't wait to read Ayana Mathis's next book. I want to know more about these characters.

The boy's cool hand warmed against Floyd's chest, fingers twitching slightly. Floyd leaned into him. With these small gestures they were agreed.

Oprah's note:
What a line..."They were agreed." You don't need to know more.. That is an amazing sentence. Only a definitive writer could do that.

They had reached an accord, and now Floyd's anticipation swelled to fervency.

Oprah's note:
I wrote that line down too, but "with these small gestures they agreed"— there's that moment when you know. You don't have to ask "what does she mean?" Everybody's been in that moment; first kiss, first sexual encounter. It's just agreed; it's going to happen.

Music was the only way he could step into the current of their experience.

Oprah's note:
I love this one. I love the description and also the suggestion of music, and the people, and the flow of it all being a transcendent spiritual moment. That's what that says to me. "Hot diggity. Ayana Mathis is the bomb-diggity."

Six: 1950


Six took Coral's hand, and they kneeled together on the packed dirt floor. It was only in church that he felt compassion for anyone beside himself. Something happened to him when he looked at Sister Coral. When he was preaching about Jericho, strength built in his body, rising in Six until it spilled over the edges of him.

He had so much power that he could afford to share it, had to share it, or it would explode in him. He could be kind, if only for that hour, because he was, if only for that single hour, strong.


Oprah's note:
That's my favorite passage in the chapter. Just unbelievable. I think I understand Six. He had the gift, but he didn't have the belief because he was so tortured by his own disability. He was so tortured that he couldn't see beyond all of that to the gift. He knew he had the gift but wasn't really sure why he had it, and because of his own dysfunction, he abused it.

The townspeople said Six had the gift, and now he tried to direct it, to wield it over Rose's mother like a magic wand. He wanted Rose to see him heal her. He wanted to be an instrument of God, even a ruined one.

Oprah's note:
Mmm. I love the fact that Six is conflicted. I think it's so interesting and unexpected that he has the gift and is conflicted by it.

Next: The quote that Oprah says perfectly defines Lawrence

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