“They all kinds of crazy. Some folk drink theyselves to stupid. Others so empty, gluttony take they belly hostage. And some get so full up with hate, it like to crack they soul. Hell, ain’t nothing strange when Colored go crazy. Strange is when we don’t.”
Cynthia Bond’s “Ruby” is a brutally difficult novel to read. The misogyny is venomous, deadly. Women in general, and the title character in particular, are savagely used and abused in a way that made me wince and gasp. This barbaric cruelty was deeply ingrained in the ethos of the small Texas town in which it is set, with ties both subtle and overt to religious teachings. At the center of the story is a preacher (who is more demon than human), who at one point in his early sermons openly lays his community’s plight on the shoulders of womankind.
“Otha watched her husband’s eyes go black…
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