Fire Shut Up In My Bones A Memoir

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A gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America's most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow mines the compelling poetry of the out-of-time African-American Louisiana town where he grew up-a place where slavery's legacy was felt astonishingly close, reverberating in the elders' stories and in the near-constant wash of violence.

Charles's attachment to his mother-a fiercely driven women with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, a job plucking poultry at a nearby factory, a soon-to-be-ex husband, and a love of newspapers and learning-cannot protect him from secret abuse at the hands of an older cousin. It's damage that triggers years of anger and searing self-questioning.

Finally, Charles escapes to a nearby state university, where he joins a black fraternity after a passage of brutal hazing, and then enters a world of racial and sexual privilege that feels like everything he's ever needed and wanted, until he's called upon, himself, to become the one perpetuating the shocking abuse.

A powerfully redemptive memoir that both fits the tradition of African-American storytelling from the South, and gives it an indelible new slant.


  • Chapter 0

    Duration: 05min
  • Chapter 1 Part 1

    Duration: 01h33min
  • Chapter 2 Part 1

    Duration: 57min
  • Chapter 3 Part 1

    Duration: 58min
  • Chapter 4 Part 1

    Duration: 01h16min
  • Chapter 5 Part 1

    Duration: 37min
  • Chapter 6 Part 1

    Duration: 01h56s
  • Chapter 7 Part 1

    Duration: 30min
  • Chapter 8 Part 1

    Duration: 01h04min
  • Chapter 9 Part 1

    Duration: 24min
  • Chapter 10 Part 1

    Duration: 31min
  • Chapter 11 Part 1

    Duration: 23min
  • Chapter 12 Part 1

    Duration: 44min