Those Bones Are Not My Child It was called 'the city too busy to hate', but in the early 1980s more than forty black children were murdered in Atlanta, their bodies found strangled, beaten and sexually assaulted. Toni Cade Bambara was living in Atlanta at the time and this extraordinary novel, published posthumously, is the result of twelve years of first-hand research, as she delved into the murders and the world in which they occurred.
The narrative focuses on one black family living on the margin of a seemingly prosperous city, whose son goes missing just as the child abductions are beginning to be reported. As the distraught, already estranged parents search frantically for their son, the story moves through the full spectrum of Atlanta's political, social and cultural life, illuminating the complex issues of race and class that bedevilled the city.
Suspenseful, richly dramatic, deeply emotional, this is an epic work of fiction.
A letter from Toni Morrison
Dear Reader Those Bones Are Not My Child is the result of twelve years of work and first-hand research by Toni Cade Bambara, who lived in Atlanta during the years of the Atlanta child murders - a period when more than forty black children were slaughtered, found in ditches, on riverbanks, strangled, tied-up, beaten, and sexually assaulted - events which created media, political and enforcement fever, and which culminated in the unpersuasive conviction (based on a few fibbers) of a young black man.
Ms. Bambara on the spot, actively involved, taking notes, doing field research and interviews, used her unassailable talent as a writer and her intimate relations with all levels and facets of the Atlanta scene to construct what I believe is a magnum opus.
This novel does several things: 1. It puts the reader at the heart of the horror that came to be called the Atlanta child murders. This is not the politically expedient story - nor the news stories written by visiting journalists; not the district attorney's official account. It is the inside story as lived in the neighbourhoods and on the streets by people gripped in its terror yet determined to survive it; 2. It also dramatises the story of a local family when right at the start of the abductions their teenage son goes missing; 3. It is the narrative revelation of the workings of a major southern city of the 1980s, a revelation of what clogs the bloodstream of "The City Too Busy to Hate". These Bones Are Not My Child is a big book, as large as the events that took place, with the breadth of the Invisible Man, the depth of Their Eyes Were Watching God, and the humanity of Crime and Punishment. Toni Morrison
About The Author Toni Cade Bambara is the author of two short story collections, Gorilla, My Love and The Sea Birds Are Still Alive; a novel, The Salt Eaters; and a collection of fiction, essays, and conversations, Deep Sightings and Rescue Missions. She is also a noted documentary filmmaker and screenwriter, and her work includes the documentaries The Bombing of Osage Avenue and W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices. Toni Cade Bambara died in 1995.
Bibliography N.B. dates and publishers in dark red indicate British First Editions. Dates and publishers in black indicate recent reprints.