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On a spring day in 1865 Gawain Harper trudges toward his home in Cumberland, Mississippi, where three years earlier he had boarded a train carrying the latest enlistees in the Mississippi Infantry. Unmoved by the cause that motivated so many others, he had joined up only when Morgan Rhea's father told Gawain that he would never wed his beloved Morgan unless he did his part On a spring day in 1865 Gawain Harper trudges toward his home in Cumberland, Mississippi, where three years earlier he had boarded a train carrying the latest enlistees in the Mississippi Infantry. Unmoved by the cause that motivated so many others, he had joined up only when Morgan Rhea's father told Gawain that he would never wed his beloved Morgan unless he did his part in the war effort. Upon his return, he discovers post-war life is far from what he expected. Morgan has indeed waited for him, but before they can marry there are scores to be settled.


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On a spring day in 1865 Gawain Harper trudges toward his home in Cumberland, Mississippi, where three years earlier he had boarded a train carrying the latest enlistees in the Mississippi Infantry. Unmoved by the cause that motivated so many others, he had joined up only when Morgan Rhea's father told Gawain that he would never wed his beloved Morgan unless he did his part On a spring day in 1865 Gawain Harper trudges toward his home in Cumberland, Mississippi, where three years earlier he had boarded a train carrying the latest enlistees in the Mississippi Infantry. Unmoved by the cause that motivated so many others, he had joined up only when Morgan Rhea's father told Gawain that he would never wed his beloved Morgan unless he did his part in the war effort. Upon his return, he discovers post-war life is far from what he expected. Morgan has indeed waited for him, but before they can marry there are scores to be settled.

30 review for The Year of Jubilo: A Novel of the Civil War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    5+ stars. Among the best Civil War epics ever written. It is 1865 and the war is over. The Confederate soldiers are going home at last, among them Gawain Harper. He has made it through the war with the daguerreotype of Morgan Rhea in his pocket, but he does not know if she is waiting for him and he is afraid that the women he will find at the end of this journey will not be the woman he left behind. Indeed, he knows not one person in this world is the same, especially not himself. Bahr, who, in h 5+ stars. Among the best Civil War epics ever written. It is 1865 and the war is over. The Confederate soldiers are going home at last, among them Gawain Harper. He has made it through the war with the daguerreotype of Morgan Rhea in his pocket, but he does not know if she is waiting for him and he is afraid that the women he will find at the end of this journey will not be the woman he left behind. Indeed, he knows not one person in this world is the same, especially not himself. Bahr, who, in his first novel, The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War, offered the most realistic picture I have ever known of the Civil War, now gives just as stark and compelling a picture of the days after the war and the struggle of the living to rejoin life and determine their places in it. We walk the road with these men and feel how foreign everything in life is to them. Even after returning home, something as normal as sleeping in a bed seems impossible. Much of the town they knew is burned to the ground and, even worse, they are in an occupied territory. The hatred of the soldiers has virtually evaporated, but the hatred in the town and among the “rangers”, who never went to war but have ruled in the absence of the men, is hot and palpable. Like most wars, this one has claimed some of the best men and left behind some of the worst. If you have ever had a romantic notion of what war or reconstruction is, Howard Bahr will steal that from you and leave you gasping at how raw and real war and its aftermath can be. His own experiences in Vietnam no doubt inform his clear understanding of the horrors and consequences of war. His ability to convert that knowledge into the world of the 1860s is impressive and unparalleled. I shall never forget Gawain Harper or Capt. Harry Stribling. They are so realistically depicted that I felt as if I were reading about a fore-father and as if their stories were a part of my own past. After reading this book, I took a walk down into the countryside to a small cemetery plot that is now buried in a tangle of weeds on the far side of a field that is only temporarily free of crops. In that graveyard (which is an old-time family plot from the 1800s), there is a marker for a soldier by the name of Whitfield Moore from Co. F of the 40th VA Infantry, C.S.A. I placed flowers there and said a prayer for the soul of this man who must certainly have suffered much of what Bahr writes of and whose greatest luck might be that he found a final resting place back at his home place. Perhaps he is out walking that long road with his fellows still. There is a reason history should be remembered, not the least of which it that all of these young men were real. The title of this book is the name of a Civil War song, written in 1862 and heard here as it would have been sung then. https://youtu.be/Lalt29JmeC8

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    So the war is over, and the men are coming home. Walking home, for the most part, if you had been a soldier and not part of the cavalry. This after walking hundreds of miles to fight battles that were brutal and bloody. Penniless, weaponless, starving and injured in some way unless you were very lucky. Walking home to towns and homes that might have been burned to the ground, to relatives and friends and wives and lovers that might or might not still be alive, or sane, and were surely hungry and So the war is over, and the men are coming home. Walking home, for the most part, if you had been a soldier and not part of the cavalry. This after walking hundreds of miles to fight battles that were brutal and bloody. Penniless, weaponless, starving and injured in some way unless you were very lucky. Walking home to towns and homes that might have been burned to the ground, to relatives and friends and wives and lovers that might or might not still be alive, or sane, and were surely hungry and penniless the same as you. Walking home to towns that were occupied by the victorious federal army. And yet. And yet alive and happy to be done with the killing and the blood and the death, ready to start again to make a life, goodbye to the old ways, hello to the future with whatever it brings. "Burduck felt all right standing in the road in the twilight, watching the ashes. Once they would have saddened him, but now he thought they might not be such a bad thing in the end. Like all the ashes strewn across this country, they had to be there, needed to be there, if anything better was to rise from them and take it's shape against the stars." This book takes place in June 1865. Gawain Harper arrives home to find that some people haven't given up yet, old scores have to be settled, old loves must be re-won, new friendships are sometimes forged with Yankees, but there is a future and he will be okay. Howard Bahr has written a novel filled with hope, and humor, and wisdom, against a backdrop of a wonderful plot filled with action and one of a kind characters who speak for us all. I truly believe he soaked up some of William Faulkner's spirit during the 11 years he was curator of Rowan Oaks. In my opinion he is just as great a writer.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Truly impressive. A very realistic portrayal of a Confederate soldier, Gawain Harper, returning to his hometown of Cumberland, Mississippi during the summer of 1865. The title implies that this will be a time of jubilation, euphoria, or perhaps even elation. So, obviously I opened this book with eager hands. I love the way Mr. Bahr employs shadows, rain, and smoke to create mood. Immersed in sensory detail, I stepped back in time with perfect ease. And, I should mention the unforgettable charact Truly impressive. A very realistic portrayal of a Confederate soldier, Gawain Harper, returning to his hometown of Cumberland, Mississippi during the summer of 1865. The title implies that this will be a time of jubilation, euphoria, or perhaps even elation. So, obviously I opened this book with eager hands. I love the way Mr. Bahr employs shadows, rain, and smoke to create mood. Immersed in sensory detail, I stepped back in time with perfect ease. And, I should mention the unforgettable characters! I could even make a case for stating that time is actually a character among the cast. The passage of time that forever sweeps onward pulling Gawain along with it toward his destiny. Well, take my word for it, Mr. Bahr, is part historian and part poet. Both haunting and heartbreaking, this story will keep my thoughts turning for quite some time. But, I will also smile on occasion at the wit and dry humor that Mr. Bahr has inserted in all the right places. This is a very special book and I highly recommend it. Just be warned that you will be tempted to stay up all night reading once you have begun as the ashes in Cumberland are still smoldering.

  4. 5 out of 5

    SarahC

    This was a beautiful book that was way more than a post-Civil War piece of fiction. I can still remember passages from the book that make me cry. Bahr allows us to not just see but to know his characters. I have met him once a long time ago and keep missing chances to go to his book talks recently. I would love to hear him do a reading.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jessika

    I'll be frank, if I hadn't already read The Black Flower, I probably wouldn't have liked this book and Howard Bahr as much as I do. That being said, this is another wonderful addition to Bahr's list. He included gut-wrenching images and unforgettable characters. I have to admit, I was a little wary starting this one because although its subtitle calls it a "novel of the Civil War," the story takes place after the war's end. I was afraid that too much of the novel would be spent in flashbacks. Ne I'll be frank, if I hadn't already read The Black Flower, I probably wouldn't have liked this book and Howard Bahr as much as I do. That being said, this is another wonderful addition to Bahr's list. He included gut-wrenching images and unforgettable characters. I have to admit, I was a little wary starting this one because although its subtitle calls it a "novel of the Civil War," the story takes place after the war's end. I was afraid that too much of the novel would be spent in flashbacks. Never fear, though, Bahr spun the perfect blend of what it would be like to be a former soldier. For someone such as myself who's always wondered what it would be like for civilians and former soldiers after the Civil War had ended, Bahr's novel offers excellent insight into this matter. His imagery is vivid (often to the point that it felt like I was watching a movie in my mind), and the character's Southern dialect is effortless (to the point that each character had their own voice in my mind). Another thing that I loved about his characters was how real they seemed. As cliche as it sounds, by the end of the novel, I felt like you know them--I triumphed with their successes and I cursed with their failures. My feminist self also cheered for the sassy Morgan, who never hesitates to speak her mind. Oh--and I loved the appearance from Bushrod. I love it when stories slightly overlap like this one does with The Black Flower. The only reason why I gave this novel four stars instead of five was that at times I found the story to be slightly cumbersome. About three quarters of the way into the book, I began wondering if the story was ever going to "get" anywhere. Most of that was due to my own reading slump, though, so I won't knock this novel too much. I'd recommend (for those who are curious about Howard Bahr) reading The Black Flower before reading this one. I really enjoyed this book, and Howard Bahr never fails to deliver.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Beth Farley

    I think if I could only read books by Howard Bahr the rest of my life, I would be completely satisfied. This is a quote from a review I read that sums up my feelings for this book "It is a joy to read. I laughed out loud at parts and was surprised at the brutality and abruptness of other parts. I even read parts out loud to my wife." (I did actually read one part out loud to my husband too) I also read this during the same time period of the year that the novel actually takes place, mid to late I think if I could only read books by Howard Bahr the rest of my life, I would be completely satisfied. This is a quote from a review I read that sums up my feelings for this book "It is a joy to read. I laughed out loud at parts and was surprised at the brutality and abruptness of other parts. I even read parts out loud to my wife." (I did actually read one part out loud to my husband too) I also read this during the same time period of the year that the novel actually takes place, mid to late June, summer solstice, not by plan, but it added to my delight. Ha. Also found an awesome review by Robert Morgan, another of my favorite authors, that does much better justice to this than I can. http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/06/18...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joycelyn

    This is a beautifully written, haunting novel of one southern solier's return to Mississipi after the surrender. The author portrays the conflicting emotions of the defeated rebels in a quite intelligent and poignant way. This is a beautifully written, haunting novel of one southern solier's return to Mississipi after the surrender. The author portrays the conflicting emotions of the defeated rebels in a quite intelligent and poignant way.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Evi

    Beautiful novel and so much more than just a story of the Civil War. I loved all the characters. After turning the last page, I immediately returned to page 1 and started again while I await the arrival of Bahr's third book. Amazingly talented writer. I would read his grocery list!! Beautiful novel and so much more than just a story of the Civil War. I loved all the characters. After turning the last page, I immediately returned to page 1 and started again while I await the arrival of Bahr's third book. Amazingly talented writer. I would read his grocery list!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tony Taylor

    The Year of Jubilo, set in Cumberland, Mississippi, in the summer of 1865, is the account of some who passed through that smoke. A reluctant soldier, Gawain Harper was goaded into joining the Confederate forces in 1862 by the rabid secessionist Judge Rhea, father of the woman Harper loves. After three years of fighting the Union, the former professor of literature is now trudging home defeated and confused, weighed down by the thought that he is "walking through someone else's memory." The South The Year of Jubilo, set in Cumberland, Mississippi, in the summer of 1865, is the account of some who passed through that smoke. A reluctant soldier, Gawain Harper was goaded into joining the Confederate forces in 1862 by the rabid secessionist Judge Rhea, father of the woman Harper loves. After three years of fighting the Union, the former professor of literature is now trudging home defeated and confused, weighed down by the thought that he is "walking through someone else's memory." The South of his past has indeed vanished, and the town Harper returns to is now governed by the victorious (but wary) soldiers of the North and overflowing with vengeful planters, opportunistic spies, and the fear and ingrained attitudes of its vanquished citizens. These characters are larger than life, as only those who live in such a land and time--one of Queen Anne's lace and poisonous snakes, of Victorian manners and the human indignity of slavery--can be. There's "King" Solomon Gault, the ruthless captain of a band of insurrectionists, plotting an attack on the ruling army; Colonel Burduck, the battle-worn commander who captured slave ships off the African coast in his youth and must now maintain order in a region that once supported slavery; Molochi Fish, a grotesque semi-being who lurks on the edges of humanity, scarred by brutality and meting it out in return; and of course Harper, who, spurred on by the meddling but ebullient Harry Stribling, dives back into this mess to create a life and retrieve a love.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bob Brinkmeyer

    These words apply to all three novels of Bahr's Civil War Trilogy. I'm posting the same review for each ot the three novels: Bahr's depiction of war and the battlefield experience in his Civil War Trilogy is heavily influenced, I believe, by the Vietnam War (Bahr is a Vietnam Vet). Bahr portrays soldiers whose loyalties rarely extend beyond the few buddies at their shoulders and whose concerns rarely reach beyond basic needs. There’s not much difference between what we generally find in the ficti These words apply to all three novels of Bahr's Civil War Trilogy. I'm posting the same review for each ot the three novels: Bahr's depiction of war and the battlefield experience in his Civil War Trilogy is heavily influenced, I believe, by the Vietnam War (Bahr is a Vietnam Vet). Bahr portrays soldiers whose loyalties rarely extend beyond the few buddies at their shoulders and whose concerns rarely reach beyond basic needs. There’s not much difference between what we generally find in the fiction of the Vietnam War and what we find in Bahr’s Civil War novels: soldiers gripped by cynicism, fear, and despair; soldiers venting their frustrations on innocent civilians, through plunder and worse; soldiers immobilized by what we would now call post-traumatic stress. “In a battle,” says the protagonist of The Judas Field, “everything is wrong, nothing you ever learned is true anymore. And when you come out—if you do—you can’t remember. You have to put it back together by the rules you know, and you end up with a lie. That’s the best you can do, and when you tell it, it’ll still be a lie." Bahr’s great theme is precisely this: how one lives with the lie, not only as a soldier, but even more importantly, after the war, as a family member and citizen.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marcia

    Howard Bahr is a master of the English language! I am sure that a lot of the low ratings are because it was too descriptive for most modern readers. But for anyone who wants more than just a good story this is a great book. It is slow in a good way. Take your time and let the writing soak into your soul. I read parts of it two or three times just because it was so well done.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mackay

    Howard Bahr is an amazing writer. I haven't finished this yet, and so far am not as in love with it as I was The Black Flower, still--he places you so well in the period, and his quirky characters are well realized and deep. Why isn't the man better known? Howard Bahr is an amazing writer. I haven't finished this yet, and so far am not as in love with it as I was The Black Flower, still--he places you so well in the period, and his quirky characters are well realized and deep. Why isn't the man better known?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    Magnificent. This is the second of Bahr’s three Civil War novels—beginning with The Black Flower and ending with The Judas Field—and the second that I've read, though by accident I'm going in reverse order. The three are loosely connected, as all are about Mississippians from a town called Cumberland and their experiences during and after the war, but are standalone novels and not really a series. The Year of Jubilo is the story of Gawain Harper, a former professor or literature at the Cumberlan Magnificent. This is the second of Bahr’s three Civil War novels—beginning with The Black Flower and ending with The Judas Field—and the second that I've read, though by accident I'm going in reverse order. The three are loosely connected, as all are about Mississippians from a town called Cumberland and their experiences during and after the war, but are standalone novels and not really a series. The Year of Jubilo is the story of Gawain Harper, a former professor or literature at the Cumberland Women’s Seminary who was shamed into joining the army by the father of the woman he wanted to marry, Morgan Rhea. With the war over, Gawain returns and seeks Morgan again, but a lot has happened in the meantime, including the murder by irregular Confederate cavalry of Morgan’s sister and her pacifist husband. Morgan’s father demands one more thing of Gawain before he will consent to a marriage—help him kill King Solomon Gault, the leader of the guerrillas. Gault is a great villain—a realistically human mix of the urbane and brutal, a skeptic planter who attends church services for amusement and got rid of his slaves before the war, not out of any altruism—he sold them off—but because he dislikes black people so much he'd rather have poor whites sharecrop his plantation. In addition to terrorizing the countryside during the war with an undisciplined band of guerrillas, Gault has plans to set himself up as virtual ruler of Cumberland via insurrection against the Yankee occupiers. His plans include terrorism and murder, to start with, and Gawain and Morgan are in the way. Bahr includes lots of well-drawn and memorable secondary characters. Perhaps my favorite is Harry Stribling, a fellow ex-Confederate who joins Gawain on his trip home and who has decided to become a philosopher now that the war is over. He and Gawain have some great comedic dialogue. Others include the creepy Molochi Fish, a deformed tracker who sees ghosts, and Old Hundred-and-Eleven, an eccentric albino who issues prophetic dicta and seems to be everywhere at once. I could name more—the story is loaded with brilliant characters—but these were the standouts. All the characters are dealing, in one way or another, with the horrific aftermath of the war—something they can't escape, as the town center is ash and rubble and lots of the men who left have not returned. What now? seems to be the question animating everyone, from the veterans walking home, to the women anticipating the arrival of men who may not show up, to embittered commanders like Gault, and even to the occupying authorities, who no longer have an official war to fight and are unsure what to do with the ruined landscape they are now assigned to guard. The answers to that question that each character comes up with drive the plot. The story, as befits the former curator of William Faulkner’s house, has Southern Gothic elements like ghosts, dreams, visions, and bizarre behavior, but they aren't overplayed. Everything resolves nicely and the ending is quite moving. This is one I'd like to read again someday. But before then, I need to read more about Bushrod Carter, the hero of The Black Flower who, here, appears to Old Hundred-and-Eleven as a ghost. Highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alana Cash

    What I enjoyed about this book is that it was different from The Black Flower in context. The tragedy of the civil war that dominates both books (as well as The Judas Field the 3rd in the trilogy). The Civil War is over and Gawain Harper is returning home, but as the war touched the whole town of Cumberland, Mississippi, it's aftermath is sadness, anger, despair, confusion, and a great loss. Many of the buildings in the town have been burned to the ground, livestock has been confiscated and eate What I enjoyed about this book is that it was different from The Black Flower in context. The tragedy of the civil war that dominates both books (as well as The Judas Field the 3rd in the trilogy). The Civil War is over and Gawain Harper is returning home, but as the war touched the whole town of Cumberland, Mississippi, it's aftermath is sadness, anger, despair, confusion, and a great loss. Many of the buildings in the town have been burned to the ground, livestock has been confiscated and eaten, the fields are overgrown. All that. Both federal soldiers occupying the town and the returning confederate soldiers are scarred and lost. But in this book, you get the quirky characters of the small town South and they are tragic, disturbed, selfish, unselfish, and a bit crazy (some of them more crazy than others). Somehow Bahr makes most of them lovable, others pitiable, and very few despicable. There's a love story in the book, a mystery, and a wonderful ending. Some reviewers have compared Bahr's amazing writing style to Falkner - I don't see that. I would compare Bahr to Thomas Wolfe who was also poetic, philosophical, and whose writing was so moving. Howard Bahr's fiction has been compared to Falkner and I do not see the comparison at all. Bahr is more easily compared to Thomas Wolfe whose writing is poetic and filled with longing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Roger Taylor

    While I have read many Civil War novels and histories, this was the most unusual of all of them. It was the story of a Confederate soldier in June 1865 making the long trek home after the war ends to discover how different home is from his expectations and dreams. It offers an excellent insight into life in the deep South as a result of the devastating defeat in the war. It contained a number of very interesting characters who could only have been found in the deep South. Highly recommended.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rex

    Howard Bahr's devotion to his craft is without reserve. Every sentence rings. The Year of Jubilo, a pensive tale of homecoming, is in many respects a richer experience than The Black Flower. Bahr is an idiosyncratic talent, but he deserves to be far better-known. Howard Bahr's devotion to his craft is without reserve. Every sentence rings. The Year of Jubilo, a pensive tale of homecoming, is in many respects a richer experience than The Black Flower. Bahr is an idiosyncratic talent, but he deserves to be far better-known.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Barnes

    Great story

  18. 5 out of 5

    Corey Ryan

    Is "The Year of Jubilo" better than "Cold Mountain" or "Andersonville?" No. Is it better than "The Black Flower?" I don't know? I definitely enjoyed reading it and respected the way Bahr treated his themes of freedom and honor and just what exactly it would have meant to be a Northerner vs. a Southerner. All throughout my childhood I equated the North as "good." School taught me (and I believe still teaches) that the North freed the slaves, fought for humanity and civil rights and anything else Is "The Year of Jubilo" better than "Cold Mountain" or "Andersonville?" No. Is it better than "The Black Flower?" I don't know? I definitely enjoyed reading it and respected the way Bahr treated his themes of freedom and honor and just what exactly it would have meant to be a Northerner vs. a Southerner. All throughout my childhood I equated the North as "good." School taught me (and I believe still teaches) that the North freed the slaves, fought for humanity and civil rights and anything else seen as Godlike or simply, "good." But that was not the case. There are good and bad on both sides. The lines of good and bad were blurred to obscurity. Take King Solomon Gault vs. Old Hundred-and-Eleven vs. Captain Burduck vs. Molochi Fish. Whose is good and who is evil? Throughout my reading I couldn't help comparing this tale of a man returning from war and quickly being forced to return to civilian life to movies like "Jarhead" and even "The Hurt Locker." War never changes. The effects stay the same. And if you just want to read about some a nice love story with some Southern weirdness involved (not as weird as Nick Cave's "And The Ass Saw The Angel") you will simply love the character of Molochi Fish. You'll love him and hate him, find him repulsive and endearing and empathetic and sympathetic. Good for a winter read. And finally, to end with a depressing notion as to the lack of freedom that each character in the book exhibits to the lack of freedom I feel as I wake up this morning to the beautiful aphoristic title that Thomas Wolfe wrote, you can't go home again... "Carl Nobles, like many other, had sustained himself with the belief that the wastelands through which he passed had no application to him-that if he could just reach home, he would find it magically unchanged, the same people walking about the streets, the ground ready for the plow, mail waiting for him at the post office. And not only that, but he had expected to find himself there, perhaps lounging on the gallery of Frye's Tavern or on a courthouse bench, and whatever he had become would be gathered at once into that which he had been before, and the memories he now carried now would vanish forever. The scope of his delusion struck him like a physical blow, and he staggered to the sided of the road and sat down among the ashes and wept without shame."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Smita

    Passages I Love: "How could anyone explain...the random violence of a burning, or the joy that great acts of destruction brought to the sould? When a soldier, Gawain himself knew the exhiliration of torching a house, of watching the flames rise to his bidding, and in those moments (so frightening because they were so rational) he would gladly have burned buildings, towns, cities, whole civilizations--would have laid waste the earth with flames and artillery if he could" (21-2). So Faulkneresque "T Passages I Love: "How could anyone explain...the random violence of a burning, or the joy that great acts of destruction brought to the sould? When a soldier, Gawain himself knew the exhiliration of torching a house, of watching the flames rise to his bidding, and in those moments (so frightening because they were so rational) he would gladly have burned buildings, towns, cities, whole civilizations--would have laid waste the earth with flames and artillery if he could" (21-2). So Faulkneresque "These things...were all he could safely say he owned...Of course, he owned memory too, and one day this might prove to be his heaviest baggage. But not now. He had learned in these three years that sometimes it was all right to walk in the moment only, and that memory was merciful in this, at least: that now and then it gave way to music or to sunlight or to a little space when a man might walk along with nothing bad happening to him" (34). "People walked here then, believing the universe was in order--believing, no doubt, that they were the polished end of all creation and so would not be forgotten--unable to imagine the world without themselves in it" (36). "...a man can shape his destiny out of the choices he made" (65). "...he felt that something lay huddled in the hour's stillness, some answer perhaps to a question he had not yet thought to ask...There was too much mystery to peace...and too much complication. War was a good deal simpler" (75). "No, it has to change a little for my being here. He held up his hands, saw them against the door, made himself believe that he had shifted the universe just by stepping up on the porch. The moment took its shape, its texture, from him now. Were he not here, it would all be different, might not exist at all" (87). Poignant stream-of-consciousness on existentialism. "...nothing held his attention like the weather, that garment that the world changed at will--violent and sweet and illogical, but always present, always inescapable" (88).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dale

    The Year of Jubilo is the second book by Bahr that I've read. In fact, I bought this one because I enjoyed his first novel, The Black Flower so much. This book is diferent the The Black Flower , which was heavy on texture and feel. This book is every bit the equal of the first, but much more focused on plot and theme. So, what is the theme? It's in the title. The Year of Jubilo refers to the Old Testament Hebrew tradition called the Year of Jubilee. Every 7 years, all slaves were f The Year of Jubilo is the second book by Bahr that I've read. In fact, I bought this one because I enjoyed his first novel, The Black Flower so much. This book is diferent the The Black Flower , which was heavy on texture and feel. This book is every bit the equal of the first, but much more focused on plot and theme. So, what is the theme? It's in the title. The Year of Jubilo refers to the Old Testament Hebrew tradition called the Year of Jubilee. Every 7 years, all slaves were forever released from bondage. This novel explores freedom of all sorts in a (barely) post-Civil War Alabama town. There is, obviously, the newly-won freedom of the slaves, but that is barely brushed upon in favor of deeper themes. There is freedom (or not) from the past, guilt, the entanglements of family, family honor, regional honor, friendship, obligations of social position and even love. All of this is mostly told through two characters, Gawain Harper, a former college professor who joined the Confederate army to prove he was worthy to the father of the woman he loves and Harry Stribling, a former newspaperman who served in the Confederate cavalry during the war and is now a self-proclaimed philosopher. Bahr is not limited to these two characters, though. He has created a whole community in this book. Characters range from the Union colonel in charge of the occupying force to a former slave chaser to a smuggler. The smuggler, King Solomon Gault, is by far the most interesting character. He has... Read more at: http://dwdsreviews.blogspot.com/2010/...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Bahr did an excellent novel with Black Flower using historical facts from the Civil War and he does it again with The Year of Jubilo. The story revolves around Gawain Harper as he walks his way back home to Cumberland MS at the end of the Civil War. A professor who did not want to fight but did and now, after three long and brutal years is going home to a memory that is no longer. The war was harsh enough but Bahr also gives insight into the so called "Rangers" who didn't fight in the regular ar Bahr did an excellent novel with Black Flower using historical facts from the Civil War and he does it again with The Year of Jubilo. The story revolves around Gawain Harper as he walks his way back home to Cumberland MS at the end of the Civil War. A professor who did not want to fight but did and now, after three long and brutal years is going home to a memory that is no longer. The war was harsh enough but Bahr also gives insight into the so called "Rangers" who didn't fight in the regular army but struck terror into the civilian population of their own towns/counties with murder, rape and pillaging...the bullies who were cowards to everything except defenseless women, children and old men. Gawain and several other former Confederates make a stand with the Union occupation soldiers against these men to help truly end the war and begin a life far different from the one they had left. Incredibly moving and Bahr's gift of description is wonderful!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Linster

    Thought I'd add this now because I'm surprised by it. It's a pick for my book club this month and, not generally being a fan of historical fiction, I expected to struggle through it. But I like the writing quite a bit and so far the story has kept me interested. The real reason I want to post, though, is to say this: Whether you want to read Year of Jubilo or not, find it next time you're in the library and read the first chapter (which I think is a prologue). It's a writing lesson: how a blind b Thought I'd add this now because I'm surprised by it. It's a pick for my book club this month and, not generally being a fan of historical fiction, I expected to struggle through it. But I like the writing quite a bit and so far the story has kept me interested. The real reason I want to post, though, is to say this: Whether you want to read Year of Jubilo or not, find it next time you're in the library and read the first chapter (which I think is a prologue). It's a writing lesson: how a blind boy would experience an attack on his family. Not easy reading, but wonderfully written.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This is the 2nd book in the Civil War trilogy that Bahr has written. He is an amazing writer and paints pictures with his words, and I found reading the first book, easy and enjoyable. I think if I had taken a break between reading the first and THE YEAR OF JUBILO I would have liked it more. Bahr continues his incredible "command" of the english language and the book is beautifully written but I got bored with all the descripive narrative and slow pace of the story. I will wait a while to read t This is the 2nd book in the Civil War trilogy that Bahr has written. He is an amazing writer and paints pictures with his words, and I found reading the first book, easy and enjoyable. I think if I had taken a break between reading the first and THE YEAR OF JUBILO I would have liked it more. Bahr continues his incredible "command" of the english language and the book is beautifully written but I got bored with all the descripive narrative and slow pace of the story. I will wait a while to read the 3rd book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Another excellent piece of Civil War fiction from Bahr. Beautiful prose and a plot that begins with a long slow burn into a raging fire. Four instead of five stars because I didn't quite understand a few pieces of the conclusion, and it's not quite as perfect as The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War was. But still a great read. Another excellent piece of Civil War fiction from Bahr. Beautiful prose and a plot that begins with a long slow burn into a raging fire. Four instead of five stars because I didn't quite understand a few pieces of the conclusion, and it's not quite as perfect as The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War was. But still a great read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    audiobook - Beautiful language, evocative setting, very interesting odd-ball characters, well-read. The title is somewhat misleading, as the story itself only covers about 3 days as Garwin Harper returns home to Cumberland, Mississippi after the Civil War. Lots of thoughts on death, loss, honor, good/evil, rebirth, and how to adjust to extreme social/personal change from many different points of view.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Zink

    This is a novel about the Civil War, and it is a showcase of excellent writing, but other than that, I can't say much about it. There were too many characters, and the prose was chopped up into too many vignettes which were too often, in my opinion, unconnected or hard to follow. I have yet to figure out how the first little chapter related to the rest of the story. Try it. You may be able to figure it out. This is a novel about the Civil War, and it is a showcase of excellent writing, but other than that, I can't say much about it. There were too many characters, and the prose was chopped up into too many vignettes which were too often, in my opinion, unconnected or hard to follow. I have yet to figure out how the first little chapter related to the rest of the story. Try it. You may be able to figure it out.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Luckngrace

    A novel exploring the challenges of surviving in 1865 Mississippi among physically and emotionally crippled soldiers of both sides. The South where they returned bore little resemblance to the one they left. A painful reading experience, The Year of Jubilo puts the reader right into the scene of death, broken minds and hearts, a world turned upside down. Read it, if you dare.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    Really well written book with graphic and disturbing scenes emphasizing the theme about the horrors of the Civil War, and its aftermath. Interesting characters, although the the number of mentally disturbed characters was somewhat unsettling; again that imbalance seemed to push the theme that war breaks people down and changes them forever.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Boyer

    Growing up in Virginia, the flagship of the Confederacy, I have a passionate interest in the Civil War. This book is the last of the trilogy (read out of order) I have enjoyed. The three books inform the reader of the pain, heartache, and brutality of that war without romanticizing it. I loved it. Howard Bahr is a beautiful, thoughtful, and poetic writer.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brent

    Another terrific novel by Howard Bahr. I don't understand why Mr. Bahr isn't better known. I love the way he blends beautifully descriptive prose, symbolism, the supernatural and raw emotion to tell his stories. I would love to see what a talented film director like Steven Spielberg could do with this book. Another terrific novel by Howard Bahr. I don't understand why Mr. Bahr isn't better known. I love the way he blends beautifully descriptive prose, symbolism, the supernatural and raw emotion to tell his stories. I would love to see what a talented film director like Steven Spielberg could do with this book.

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