Date: December 24,2002
it at Amazon
work of art best describes this debut by author Hilda Gurley-Highgate.
The writing in the book impressed me, more so than the content of
the story. Sapphire's Grave put me in the mind of writings
by Toni Morrison in that you have to sit back with your cup of hot
tea and read for pure enjoyment, understanding will most likely
occur in your quiet time of reflection.
was so named for the rich blue-black color of her skin. Her mother
was snatched and transported from her home on a slave ship. This
did nothing to break her spirit, dignity or her personal resolve
during the journey. Sapphire was sold as a slave at the age of 5
and the propagation of horrific acts was passed on to her and her
descendants. What was done to her during the journey and her life
as a slave was done to her body, not her spirit. It was this dignity
that was passed down through her descendants and that made Sapphire's
Grave never her final resting place.
last of Sapphire's children to be born a slave was Sister, a woman
with the same resolve as her ancestor. Sister outlived slavery,
managing to keep her children together and grow a purposeful family.
Asome of the choices made by Sister and her children weren't the
best, Sapphire spoke to each of them from the grave. The kindred,
the spirit, the determination, could not be denied.
of many twists and turns, one can read Sapphire's Grave many times
and each time gain a different understanding, as when one views
a fine painting. This is what separates mere writing from art. The
same is true with writing and Ms. Gurley-Highgate has penned a great
novel that is worthy of acclaim. Sapphire's Grave won't haunt
me, but inspire me to walk the path that I'm on in tribute to those
family members who walked the path before.
is not a haunting tale, but rather a legacy of triumph, that despite
what is done to the person, the soul can remain chaste.